A new ticketing system at the famous Uffizi art gallery in Florence, Italy, has helped to eliminate the historically long queues to see paintings by Botticelli, Leonardo and Michelangelo.

The new system allows visitors to purchase or pick up tickets at the first office where they are issued an entry time calculated to the minute based on numerous factors that have been figured into an algorithm, including weather and time of year.

Customers are then free to leave the area, and return to the entry door at the appointed time, where their ticket is read by a kiosk and they are granted entry without having to stand in a queue.

A full trial of a new ticketing system was carried out at the beginning of the month with successful results, according to TheFlorentine. Tests will reportedly continue running on the first Sunday of each month with progressive refinements of the system until full implementation, which is expected mid-2019.

Henry Muccini, a professor of software engineering at the Department of Information Engineering, Computer Science and Mathematics at the University of L’Aquila, Italy, studied the Uffizi’s visitor flow and developed the ticketing system.

Due to safety limitations the Uffizi can only accommodate some 900 visitors at any time, and with visitors spending a varying amount of time inside, queuing up to three hours could be expected.

The first Sundays of every month are often the busiest as state museums are free to enter. According to TheFlorentine, Muccini calculated that his experimental ticketing system saved 500,000 minutes of waiting in line on the first Sunday of October.

Image: John Menard