Tourists visiting the Pantheon in Rome will soon be charged a €5 entry fee. Proceeds from the new entry fee will be split between the culture ministry and Rome diocese.
Under an agreement signed Thursday by Italian culture ministry and church officials, an entrance fee will be introduced for the Pantheon. Currently, entrance is free, with reservations required on weekends and public holidays.
Proceeds from the new entry fee will be split. The culture ministry will receive 70% to help cover maintenance and cleaning costs. The remaining 30% will go to the Rome diocese.
Culture Minister Gennaro Sangiuliano said the move was a matter of “good sense.” The introduction of the fee comes five years after a previous government shelved plans to start charging visitors €2.
Under the new plan, visitors under 25 years of age will be charged a reduced rate of €2. Entrance will remain free for Rome residents, minors, people attending Mass and personnel of the basilica, among others.
No date was given for the introduction of the fee.
What is the Pantheon?
Built on the site of an earlier temple commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD), it was rebuilt by the emperor Hadrian. It was probably dedicated around 126 AD. Hadrian chose not to inscribe the new temple but rather to retain the inscription of Agrippa’s older temple, which had burned down. It was transformed into a Catholic church in 609AD, renamed the Basilica of St. Mary and the Martyrs (Basilica di Santa Maria ad Martyres). Mass is regularly celebrated there.
The building is cylindrical with a portico of large granite Corinthian columns under a pediment. Almost two thousand years after it was built, the Pantheon’s dome is still the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome.
The Pantheon is Italy’s most popular cultural site and attracts millions of visitors every year.
Are there any free sites in Rome?
The Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona and the exterior of St. Peter’s Basilica, as outdoor sites, are naturally free. They offer great photo opportunities.
Many of the churches in Rome are free. Whilst they may appear simple from the outside, they are often home to wondrous works of art. Try the Basilica of Saint Praxedes, Santa Maria Maggiore and the Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo.
The Forum, Colosseum and Palatine Hill are usually free to enter on the first Sunday of each month. In addition, every year on 21st April, in celebration of Rome’s birthday, many fee-paying museums and monuments are free to enter for the day.