People across Italy will be able to visit museums for free once again this Sunday, September 4th, under the nationwide Domenica al Museo or ‘free museum Sundays’ scheme allowing ticketless entry on the first Sunday of every month.
First introduced in 2014, the offer was suspended during the coronavirus pandemic amid concerns about crowding but reinstated in April 2022.
As tickets for major historical sites and museums in Italy often cost upwards of €15 per person, there are big savings to be made and the free Sundays scheme is understandably popular among both tourists and residents.
The remaining dates for 2023 are:
February 5th, March 5th, April 2nd, May 7th, June 4th, July 2nd, August 6th, September 3rd, October 1st, November 5th, and December 3rd.
Where can I go?
The scheme applies to hundreds of state-run museums, archaeological parks and monuments, including world-famous sites like the Colosseum, Pompeii, Florence’s Galleria dell’Accademia, the Reggia di Caserta and Trieste’s Miramare Castle.
The offer does not apply to sites that are run by local authorities rather than the state, though many cities run similar initiatives of their own.
How do I book a free ticket?
In many cases you don’t need to and can simply turn up and walk in.
However, some venues such as Rome’s Galleria Borghese require advance booking, so it’s always wise to find the attraction’s website and check the rules before you go.
Will museums be crowded?
This really depends on where and when you go. Italy most famous attractions always draw huge crowds in summer – free entrance or otherwise – while lesser-known spots or those outside the major tourist areas will probably be less chaotic. But don’t bank on it, as these dates are popular with Italians, too.
The scheme was in fact cancelled in 2019 (and then reinstated after a change of government) due to the long queues and overcrowding – long before anyone had heard of Covid-19 or social distancing.
Some sites capped visitor numbers when the scheme was initially reinstated in spring 2022, but it’s unclear how many still do this.
What else should I know?
You can find a full list of the sites included and links to further information for each on the Italian culture ministry’s website here.