Italy’s Pantheon takes in €1 million in August ticket sales

Italian culture minister says visitor numbers confirm decision to introduce entry free.

The Pantheon generated €1 million in ticket sales in August, following the launch of an entry fee at the Rome landmark this summer, Italy’s culture ministry said on Saturday.

The ancient site welcomed almost 277,000 visitors in August, around 50,000 more than in July, with takings from ticket sales up around €150,000 from the previous month.

Italian culture minister Gennaro Sangiuliano claimed that the visitor numbers confirm the decision to start charging tourists to visit the site which until recently was free to everyone.

Around 65,000 visitors entered the site for free in August, along with almost 24,000 people aged between 18 and 25 who pay a discounted rate of €3.

Under the contentious system introduced at the start of July, tourists are charged €5 to enter the Pantheon which remains free to Rome residents, visitors with disabilities and the under-18s.

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It is also free to all on the first Sunday of the month, as part of the Domenica al Museo initiative, however visits must be booked online in advance.

Proceeds from the ticket sales are divided between the culture ministry, which takes 70 per cent, with the remaining 30 per cent going to the diocese of Rome.

The culture ministry pays for cleaning and maintenance at the Pantheon while church authorities use the funds for charity and the upkeep of of state-owned churches in Rome.

The Pantheon is the most visited heritage site in Italy, attracting around nine million visitors a year.