Italy’s museums open up

Anyone who has visited Italy knows the delights of the nation’s museums: some of the world’s finest, offering the art that everyone knows and loves. The problem, however, has been in getting access to the museum (any museum) on a Monday, when they’re usually closed, or in the evenings, when they’re (almost) always closed. Some are even closed at lunch time.

Things suddenly changed last summer, when more than 50 of Italy’s palaces, museums, and archaeological sites extended their hours to evenings and Sundays. Everyone was happy, including the museum guards earning overtime that was covered by extra ticket sales. The good times lasted until this winter, when the sites went back to their old restricted hours.

Everyone learned from the summer experience, however. The problem will soon be permanently fixed, as the Italian government is setting aside funds for year-round extended hours of operation. Youth unemployment runs at up to 50% in some areas, so the solution was obvious. The Italian Cultural Ministry is now in the process of hiring 1,000 young people (English speaking art lovers, all) to keep those wonderful museum doors open till 8 p.myear round, Mondays included.