World Wide News

Pantheon Visitors: Ticket to frustration? Visitors to Pantheon get a lesson in Roman confusion | World News – Times of India

ROME: The lines to get into the Pantheon, one of Rome’s most famous ancient sites, were high-season typical, snaking past the obelisk-topped fountain in the middle of the square to the cafes at the back. But they were especially slow-moving on Monday, the first day that the Italian culture ministry introduced an entrance ticket, priced at ₹5, to enter the 2,000-year-old monument. Hotly debated for years, the ticketing plan was announced in March by the culture minister who said that charging a small fee to help maintain the most popular cultural site in Italy – with about 9 million visitors a year – “was an objective based on common sense”. The equivalent of about $5.50 might be a small price to pay to see one of the world’s most iconic monuments – where painter Raphael is buried – but the new fee has been accompanied by stumbling blocks.
“Until now, the Pantheon could be visited by anyone, you just had to line up,” said Isabella Ruggiero, president of AGTA, one of the main associations representing official tour guides. Not anymore. Tourists have been confounded by the new rules: They can either buy a ticket online, a process that is anything but simple, or wait in line under the hot summer sun outside the Pantheon. Some people have booked ₹10 audio tours on an official Pantheon website only to realise too late that their booking did not include the entrance ticket, which can be purchased from another culture ministry site or at the monument itself. Many visitors are from outside Italy, but some foreign credit cards have been rejected.
And the biggest concern: The potential emergence of a ticketing black market. Critics say tour operators snatch up tickets in bulk, making it difficult for tourists to buy them at the regular price. Disorganisation is common in Rome “when it comes to taxis, parking, garbage disposal, public transportation,” and disorganisation creates opportunities for illegality, said Massimiliano Tonelli, editorial director of an art magazine. “Taking advantage of chaos is a very Italian story.”

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button