Guide to combined tickets and free admission in Italian museums
Taking a plunge into Italian culture can be low-cost. But how?
1. The MiBACT initiatives
MiBACT stands for Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali per il Turismo (Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities for Tourism). The Ministry has an ongoing policy of promoting culture, including through reduced entrance fees to museums.
Children under the age of 18 can access all state museums, monuments, galleries and archaeological sites free of charge. All they need to do is show an identity document. Entrance is also free for Italian citizens who are resident abroad. Admission to State Archives and Libraries is free for everyone.
Domenica al Museo (Sunday at the Museum) is a Ministry initiative that offers free admission - for everyone - on the first Sunday of each month from October to March, and on some other specific dates.
To consult the dates with free admission, go to https://cultura.gov.it/domenicalmuseo
2. Milan and Lombardy
In Milan there is a museum that is always free to enter: it is the Hangar Bicocca, a majestic post-industrial hub focusing on contemporary art.
The price of admission to the Gallerie d'Italia, a circuit that in addition to Milan is also to be found in Naples, Turin and Vicenza, is particularly advantageous. The full-price ticket costs only €10, €8 for the over 65s, and is free for the under 18s here too.
If you' re heading to Lombardy for a stay lasting a few days, you may wish to purchase the Abbonamento Musei Lombardia e Valle d’Aosta (Lombardy and Aosta Valley Museums Subscription), a card that allows free access to the museums, royal residences, villas, gardens, towers, permanent collections and exhibitions in Milan, Lombardy and the Valle d'Aosta that are part of the circuit. It is valid for 365 days from the date of purchase. The season ticket (€45) also includes discounts on theatre performances, concerts, festivals and theme parks.
You can find all the details and the list of museums at lombardia.abbonamentomusei.it
3. Turin and Piedmont
If you're planning to visit the magnificent Egyptian Museum in Turin, we recommend you do so on your birthday because you're in for a treat: admission is free.
If you are in a couple, on Valentine's Day you get in 2 for the price of 1. The GAM is particularly inexpensive: full price is €10, but this is reduced to 8 for the over 65s and 18-25 year olds.
Also in Piedmont you can buy the Abbonamento Musei Piemonte e Valle d'Aosta (Piedmont and Aosta Valley Museums Subscription), to enter the circuit's structures free of charge. Rates start from €48.
For the list of museums piemonte.abbonamentomusei.it
The MUVE - Fondazione Musei Civici Venezia (Venice City Museums Foundation) offers themed combined tickets. An example is the Museums of St. Mark's Square, including the Doge's Palace, at €25, €13 for students and over 65s; or the Museums of the Venetian 18th century.
The Venezia Museum Pass, also promoted by the MUVE, gives access to ten museums, where children under six years old always get in free.
To move around the immense Florentine museum heritage, the Firenze Card is worthwhile, but only if you stay in the city for at least two days. The Card costs €85 and gives access to 75 museums over 72 hours, including the Uffizi Galleries. If, on the other hand, you only want to visit the latter, one of the most important museum centres in the world, be aware that entry also includes a visit to the Museo Archeologico Nazionale and the Museo dell'Opificio delle Pietre Dure. The Uffizi Galleries, Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens package is also very convenient, with prices varying depending on the month.
An excellent choice is the MIC Card: only €5 for free or reduced access to the Sistema Musei Roma Capitale for 12 months, including the Capitoline Museums and the Ara Pacis Museum, as well as a series of archaeological areas.
If, on the other hand, you are only staying in Rome for a few days, we recommend the RomaPass card, which you can buy from ATAC dealers. You can choose between a 72-hour card at €52, with free entry to the first two sites and the others discounted, or a 48-hour card, which at €32 allows the first entry free and the others at a discount.
On the last Sunday of the month, the Vatican Museums with the Sistine Chapel are open for free.
The Naples Pass is a convenient and affordable pass. At a cost of €37, with a 3-day validity, you gain access to the city's museums, while with the 7-day pass you also enter the Pompeii and Herculaneum excavations and many of Campania's major institutions.
The Pass also offers discounts in restaurants, hotels and shops, tours and guided visits.