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Change of plan in Italy as Rome’s Pantheon will stay free to visitors

Despite talk of introducing an entrance fee to the Pantheon, Rome officials have announced that the ancient monument will remain free to visitors. Italy’s culture minister Alberto Bonisoli has formally nixed the plans put forth by his predecessor to establish a paid ticket to the site. “The Pantheon will remain free. Contrary to what was decided in 2017, there will be no entry ticket,” says Bonsioli.” A measure of this kind would have limited the traditional free access to the capital’s churches of worship and created a barrier between the monument and the square it is in.”

The domed interior of the Pantheon in Rome. Image by ©Pavel Ilyukhin/Shutterstock

Under the original proposal, visitors would have been charged €2 (US$2.28) to take in the iconic attraction with tourist visits prohibited during religious services. Attending a Catholic mass within the Pantheon (held bi-weekly) would not have warranted a fee.

Ancient artefact (Bocca della Verita or the Mouth of Truth) in Rome. Image by ©Martin Moos/Lonely Planet

While the Pantheon will stay free of charge, Italy has followed through with implementing entrance fees to other popular tourist haunts. As of 2016, tourists must pay €2 to see the famous Bocca della Verità and take a photo with their hand in its mouth; a church staff member is always on hand to make sure that each visitor takes only one photo per ticket. The decision was made to raise funds to renovate Santa Maria in Cosmedin church, where the Bocca is located. In Venice, day-trippers are set to be charged an entrance fee as well, a relief to locals who have complained that mass tourism continues to ruin their city’s cultural heritage.

Full moon over Pantheon and portico. Image by ©Martin Moos/Lonely Planet

A pagan temple-turned-Catholic church, the Pantheon was constructed a whopping 2000 years ago and boasts the title of the largest unreinforced concrete dome ever built. It attracts over seven million tourists a year.

The post Change of plan in Italy as Rome’s Pantheon will stay free to visitors appeared first on Lonely Planet Travel News.
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