From Florence and Rome crossfire on museum scalpers, especially online ones

From Florence and Rome come stances against the phenomenon of ticket scalping, especially online scalping.

The battle against museum ticket scalpers, who resell admission tickets to Italy’s major museums at inflated prices, is coming into full swing. This week, in particular, the undersecretary for cultural heritage Lucia Borgonzoni and the director of the Uffizi Galleries, Eike D. Schmidt.

For Borgonzoni, the phenomenon of secondary ticketing, which in addition to the Uffizi and the Colosseum has also spread to the Unesco sites in Ravenna, is a kind of “embezzlement” that must be stopped as soon as possible: for this reason, the undersecretary has let it be known that a technical table will be convened shortly at the Ministry of Cultural Heritage with all the parties involved. The goal is to put in place effective law enforcement measures to remedy this long-standing problem. “It is innammissible,” said Borgonzonoi, “that there is such commodification, with estimated mark-ups on a single ticket of up to 50 percent of the official cost, and that this traffic is also passed off by secondary operators and resale platforms as official sales. The result is a serious economic damage for visitors and an even greater damage dimmagine for the country and its historical and artistic heritage that we absolutely cannot tolerate.”

The same tones also apply to Eike D. Schmidt, who calls “unacceptable” the online scalping “that takes advantage of the name of the Uffizi to propose overpriced tickets to people unaware of the real cost of museum admission.” The director of the Uffizi let it be known that the museum has long had a blacklist of sites that resell tickets illegally: many have been shut down (thanks also to the help of the authorities: the Postal Police, Guardia di Finanza and the State Attorney’s Office, with whom collaboration and efforts to combat the phenomenon continue) and for others there are lawsuits underway. “Another fundamental building block in the fight against online scalping,” Schmidt added, “we put in place in September 2017, launching our official website (, equipped with very high indexing in search engines, which puts us behind only paid sites. It is clear, then, that we have been vigilant, active and in the trenches on this front since the beginning of my term, along with many other forces in the state. If now the City of Florence would also like to join this battle, this could only please us.”

And indeed, the City of Florence is likely to do its part. Earlier this month, Pd City Councilor Andrea Pugliese filed a motion, also signed by colleagues Leonardo Bieber, Cecilia Pezza, and Fabrizio Ricci, with the City Council offices to curb scalping. “Long urged also by the director of the Uffizi Eike Schmidt,” Pugliese explained, “this action that will start from the city administration wants to counter with effective means this phenomenon, which not only damages ecnomically the tourists who are cheated to buy unduly increased tickets, but also the image of Florence and its artistic treasures, a Unesco heritage site. The junta is already working in this direction, now with this motion the City Council also wants to give a decisive impulse to eliminate this ’gray zone’ from Florence.”

The motion commits the mayor to prepare “the necessary and appropriate measures, also in agreement with the other entities concerned and responsible for the protection and enhancement of the Piazzale and the Uffizi Gallery, to prohibit in the Piazzale degli Uffizi the exercise and trade by unauthorized private parties of resale of tickets for access to the Museums or tourist packages or activities by unauthorized parties in order to ensure the protection enhancement and decorum of the place and respect for visitors and tourists” and to “consider the adoption of similar measures for the entire UNESCO area to protect the cultural heritage and respect for tourists and visitors.” Has the time finally come to put an “end” to museum scalping?

Pictured: tourists at the Uffizi. From the Grand Tourismo project (2018) by Giacomo Zaganelli

From Florence and Rome crossfire on museum scalpers, especially online ones
From Florence and Rome crossfire on museum scalpers, especially online ones

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