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Uffizi looks to tackle touts and overcrowding

The famous Uffizi art gallery in Florence, Italy, is working towards minimising ticket scalping, as well as visitor overcrowding.

Italy’s most-visited art museum’s director Eike Schmidt said, according to the Associated Press news agency, Uffizi officials are meeting with the government office that protects citizen privacy to discover ways to use ID photos to deter scalpers reselling at inflated prices.

Schmidt also told foreign media in Rome on Wednesday that the museum is working with an Italian university on algorithms to better manage crowds, who gather in front of masterpieces by such artists as Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Botticelli. On peak days, more than 10,000 visitors enter the galleries.

In October, Uffizi announced it had began testing a new ticketing system to help eliminate the historically long queues to 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 in October, 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.

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

Image: John Menard