Italian government steps into Colosseum ticket debate.
Italy’s culture ministry on Friday said it plans to introduce Colosseum tickets with the names of visitors in a bid to stop the widespread practice of tickets being resold at inflated prices.
The ministry said the planned system would require ticket-holders to present “a valid identification document, as happens for football matches”, according to La Repubblica.
A portion of Colosseum tickets would reportedly be reserved for “on-site” sale, with “each person able to purchase only one ticket”.
The intervention by the culture ministry came after Rome’s tourism councillor Alessandro Onorato raised the “shameful” issue at the Colosseum in a Facebook video on Friday.
Onorato stressed that the Colosseum is not managed by the city of Rome – “otherwise we would have intervened already” – but by the culture ministry and Parco archeologico del Colosseo.
In the video Onorato claimed that many tourists who come to Rome end up going home without setting foot inside the Colosseum as they refuse to be ripped off by so-called ticket scalpers.
Italy’s competition watchdog in July launched an investigation into the online sale of Colosseum tickets amid claims they are being bought in bulk by bots and resold to tourists at triple the original price.
The probe by the competition regulator followed complaints from tourists who say it almost impossible to purchase tickets via the official vendor site, CoopCulture, as they sell out immediately.
The antitrust authority also investigated a number of “secondary ticketing” websites which offer Colosseum tickets at far higher prices than the normal €18 cost, as part of packages including “skip-the-line” tours.
Alfonsina Russo, director of the Colosseum Archaeological park, welcomed the investigation, telling news agency ANSA at the time that she had filed a complaint with police last year about the bulk-buying of tickets.
More recently a spat broke out between the city and the culture ministry after tourists filmed rats roaming around in rubbish dumped near the Colosseum.
Culture minister Gennaro Sangiuliano stressed that the area where the rats were filmed came under the remit of the city, not the culture ministry or the Colosseum.
The minister called on the capital to clean the area more often and put an end to the illegal practice of hawkers selling souvenirs and bottles of water around the ancient amphitheatre.
Photo Wanted in Rome