The Pantheon is worth every cent officials may want to charge. Maybe they could event get some ideas about surge pricing from Uber to better take advantage of the appetite to visit this one-of-a-kind structure.
Visitors to Rome’s Pantheon, one of the ancient world’s best preserved monuments, will have to pay a 5 euro ($5.45) entrance fee from Monday, Italy’s tourism ministry has said.
Now a church, the vast cylindrical former temple whose undamaged exterior wall supports a 43.3 metre-high (142 ft) dome, attracts millions of visitors every year, making it one of Italy’s top tourist draws.
The long-delayed introduction of a charge is part of a drive to squeeze more profit from Italy’s cultural assets, with the tourism ministry set to receive 70% of the revenue to help cover cleaning and maintenance. The rest will go the diocese of Rome.
Entrance will be free to worshippers during religious services.
The Pantheon’s current form and six-metre thick walls date from the early part of the reign of Emperor Hadrian, who came to power in A.D. 117. It remains the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome and has a circular skylight at its crown.
The building survived the Barbarian attacks on Rome and was transformed into a Christian church in 609.
“If it’s going to stay for another 2000 (years), they need some money,” German tourist Karsten Kohler said on Friday, queuing up for one of the last free tickets on offer.
Caring for art and architecture has long posed a challenge for a country that is responsible for more UNESCO world heritage sites than any other and has long-standing problems of bureaucracy and low public funding.
($1 = 0.9168 euros)
(Reporting by Cristiano Corvino; Editing by Crispian Balmer and Angus MacSwan)
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Photo credit: Tourists line up to visit the Pantheon in central Rome, Italy. Reuters