What is Cultural Week? Simply put it is a celebration of art and culture, with events and free admissions into lots of archaeological sites and museums for these 9 days. It’s a way to encourage people to explore things maybe they haven’t before, and also a way to give back to travelers and locals alike who are actively participating in the important world of culture, heritage, and tourism. And each year has been a grand success, so far.
If you will be in Italy during Culture Week you will find that there is free admission into a lot of sites (including the Colosseum/Roman Forum in Rome and the Academia and Uffizi Galleries in Florence). You will also run into a lot of events and lectures that should all be free throughout Italy for the occasion. You can take a look here on the “Ministero per I Beni e le Attivita’ Culturali” website for a full listing of all the events and sites/museums that will be participating. The site is in Italian, so you might also take a look here at the Comune di Roma Museums site which also has a lot of information regarding cultural events/exhbitions and sites which should be part of this special Cultural Week! All state-run sites and museums should be free for these 9 days (which make a note does NOT include the Vatican Museums, as they are not a participating country in Culture Week and not funded or run by the Italian Cultural Ministry).
Will thing be more crowded in light of the free admissions? Yes, it’s possible, but also there might not be much of a difference at all from how the crowds would be normally this time of year. Most people do not plan their travels around this particular week…rather it tends to be a happy coincidence! You might avoid booking tickets online for sites that will be free during this time period, as booking tickets online almost always means pre-paying, and not all booking sites are taking into consideration that admissions are free these particular days. Rather call ahead, for example to the Uffizi, and reserve over the phone. You’ll have to pay the reservation fees when you arrive, but not any admission costs. I’d recommend this for any site that you know normally can have quite a line-up, such as the Uffizi and Academia in Florence, or the Borghese Gallery in Rome which has limited spots for visitors even normally.
How will this effect your Presto tour? If you’ll be joining us for a tour during this time period, the only effect it will have will be that you might get to enter all sites on the tour for free (assuming they are part of this special occasion of course). There will be no change in your itineraries and there won’t be any change in line-skipping at sites like the Academia and Uffizi. Vatican tours are completely normal, as they don’t grant free admissions.