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Weekend Exodus

Record run on Rome museums

Elisabeth Lang, eTN  Jan 10, 2011

(eTN) - At the end of the holiday season, between Christmas, starting December 23 and Epifania (January 6), Airport Rome-Fiumicino registered a record number of over 1.2 million transit passengers – the highest number during the last few years.

Trademark, the Research Institute for Tourism analysis, said there have been many cancellations of flights to America over the holidays, due to bad weather conditions and heavy snowfalls in the USA. This, unfortunately, marks an 18% drop just over the Christmas period.

In an earlier official forecast, it was said that Italians would travel less for the Christmas holiday, but it turned out to be the contrary. While Rome was completely paralyzed a week before Christmas due to snowfall and demonstrations, a peaceful run towards culture and heritage began a week later, when people who stayed in Rome flocked to the Roman museums in never before seen high numbers, according to the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities (Ministero dei Beni Culturale).

The Colosseum (which was snowed in a week before) has seen a huge visitor increase of 30.3 percent, the Castel Sant Angelo even more, and at a plus of 56% percent the leader is Palazzo Barberini, which reopened again on September 19, 2010 after a massive restoration. It is happily reporting an increase of 188% percent (+145% income), setting new all-time high records.

Another big surprise occured outside of Rome at the Vatican-owned Villa D’Este, which registered a 69% percent increase in visitors, which translates into an increase of 71.7% in income.

In Florence, Palazzo PITTI posted record numbers as well, with an increase in visitors of 108% percent, while famous Uffizi of Florence had an increase of 51% percent and +46.5% in income. There was great success in Pompei with an 85% percent and 72% income increase, and Reggia di Caserta came in at +73% and +74% income. Positive feedback and figures coming from Turin, the Museo EGIZIO di Torino, had 121% more visitors and an 87% increase in income.

But according to Corriere della Sera, traveling is still not yet finished. There are more people than ever leaving now for the settimana bianca (white week) to take advantage of low prices during the low season in the mountains, beginning this week.

That means that people are really saving this year, but will also mean less business in February when it is peak season and the time of the famous “settimana bianca.”


For anyone who had his holiday messed up due to sudden snowfall (even in Rome and just before Christmas), the snow chaos that has caused great delays and flight cancellations, can call the Telefono Blue Number: when in Italy. Since December 8, this number has received over 4,000 calls. This is also good news also for people who got stuck on the Italian Autostrade and roads in their cars because of total snow chaos a week before Christmas. Some people were stuck on the Autostrada from Florence to Bologna and had to spend the night in their icy cold cars. The Italia Autostrade S.p.A is paying a reimbursement to them as well.

Record run on Rome museums
Rome / Photo © Elisabeth Lang

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