How to visit Museums for FREE in ITALY! – #DomenicalMuseo

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We North Americans (and not just us!) expect to be able to do anything at any time of the day, any day of the week.  In Italy, you would be hard pressed to find a grocery store, laundromat, bowling alley or restaurant open 24 hours!

One of the hardest things to get used to when I moved to Italy, was the “Pausa Pranzo”, the typical Italian “lunch break” that lasts for two hours in the middle of the day.   If you are visiting a medium sized town during the hours of 12:00 and 3 pm do not expect to find anything open.

 

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I’ve written before about why the Pausa Pranzo is actually important in the Italian economy, where many small shops are still family owned and run with limited help.  I’ve also written before about why everything is *traditionally* closed on Sundays and how it can be difficult to find something to do (or somewhere to go) unless you’re in a big city.

 

Well NO MORE.

 

Thanks to a great initiative by the MiBACT – Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Cultural, all National Museums and archeological sites in the country are open and FREE the first Sunday of every month!  Many of which have CONTINUOUS HOURS (referred to as “orario continuato”, which means they do not shut down for the Pausa Pranzo! So if you are strapped for time you can easily grab something in the museum caffe and make the most of your visit!

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#DomenicalMuseo – Sunday at the Museum

This fantastic initiative called Domenica Al Museo – #Domenicalmuseo, meaning Sunday at the Museum, has changed everything.  It has changed the way we plan our weekends and it has opened up so many great opportunities and reasons to visit other cities, even for a brief day trip.

 

Here you can find a sortable list of ALL of the Museums and archeological sites that are open and free the first Sunday of every month in Italy.  Although this site is ONLY IN ITALIAN IT IS VERY EASY TO NAVIGATE.  Click where it says “Elenco Luoghi” – meaning “List of Places” and then SCROLL DOWN!

 

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You’ll find this table which you can then organize by Province.  If you’ll be in Rome on the first Sunday of the month you would click “Lazio” for example and then search through all of the Rome locations.  Please note, that in the far right hand column where it says “APERTO” it should say “SI”, if it says “su prenotazione” that means that you need to call in advance to book!

 

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What to see in Italy during a National Holiday

 

This past Easter weekend the rain robbed us of a perfect Satuday of sightseeing.  However, thanks to the #Domenicalmuseo promotion we were able to recuperate the weekend by taking a trip to the historic hilltop town of Torrechiara, near Parma, to enjoy it’s magnificent Castle for free!  The #domenicalmuseo initiative provides you with the chance to visit all National Museums and archeological sites even during a National holiday!

If you have limited sightseeing days a national holiday can be difficult to plan around, now you can visit many of the important cultural sites in Italy for free, even during the holidays.

 

If you are ever visiting Italy at the beginning of the month be sure to plan around the first Sunday.  This is perfect for families visiting Italy who want to save on the entry cost of museums, which can become very costly especially if you have older kids or teenagers.

 

THIS IS A GREAT opportunity to visit some of the most important cultural treasures in Italy at no cost, you can even visit Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper for FREE, but you must plan your visit!  Here I’ve written this post about how to book your tickets to Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper in advance to avoid disappointment, this is also valid for the free Sunday tickets. 

I hope this post has helped someone out there to plan a trip to Italy, if you’ve found this useful I would love to hear about it so feel free to leave me a comment!

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  • If only we were in Italy now, the things we would see. 🙂 Thank you for the tips, Angie! Tweeted. Enjoy the weekend.

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    • Kelly thank you so much for sharing. I think it is becoming quite common to see this type of free Sunday promotion in big cities….I just hope it continues!

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  • This is such a cool idea! My city back in Canada does this evey Wednesday night and the first Sunday of every month, and it’s such a hit. It’s even better here in Europe where Sunday can get a little boring.

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    • That’s right! I forgot you were from Canada! In Toronto this happens too! Although it is different museums and galleries on different days. I kind of like the idea that it is the first sunday of the month for ALL national historic sites and museums in the whole country and not just something exclusive to only a few museums. It makes planning easy and is really inclusive and I agree with you Sunday in Europe is really boring!

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  • What an amazingly useful post and what a crying shame we have no plans to visit Italy in the forseeable. Still, will remember this if that changes or if anyone else we know is going.

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    • You may want to look into your own city, because this seems to be a theme internationally. Hmmm. perhaps check the individual websites of any big museums or attractions.

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  • one tiny leap

    Great tips, and a really good idea!

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    • yes I agree, this remove any financial barrier that normal families may have in seeing the great works of art this country has to offer. this was not a paid or sponsored post, but I really wanted to get the word out because it is awesome.

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  • Oh cool! I looked it up and we will be in Venice the first Sunday in May…I forget what I had planned for us that day, but perhaps we’ll drop by a couple of museums to check it out! Thanks for the inside tips! 🙂

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    • GREAT!! In Venice there are SO MaNY free things to see and do. Just make sure to check the website because even though a museum is free they may still require you book an entry time. If you are having a hard time with the Italian please feel free to email me and I will help you go through it!

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  • I’m planning my may sunday right now!!!

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  • Jeanie Beck

    Great article. I am planning a trip to Firenze first Sunday of July. Definitely going to stop by the Uffizi.

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  • Such fabulous tips, with things being very expensive there, its great to know you can save a few $$. Yay.

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