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Italy’s museums continue to wage war on ticket touts

Museums and art galleries in Italy are set to implement named tickets in order to stop tourists and visitors falling victim to ticket touts.

Uffizi Galleries director Eike Schmidt told The Art Newspaper that the Florence museum’s management team were already working on introducing named tickets, and that the system should be in place in “months rather than years”.

Touts prey on tourists and visitors, offering tickets to Italy’s art galleries at inflated prices, often with added extras such as queue jump and museum tours. Some of these unscrupulous sellers work on the ground while others sell through websites, which have been designed to trick ticket buyers into thinking they are buying through the official ticket channels.

Italian law regulates ticketing touting in industries such as sport and live entertainment for events that welcome more than 5,000 attendees, while there are currently no such rules for museums and galleries.

Italy’s museums have been battling the problem for some time, and the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence distributed paper folding fans with official tickets among queueing visitors. These fans raised awareness of the lower prices of official tickets. The Uffizi reduced queue lengths and installed an information point in 2017, as well as introducing seasonal ticket prices in 2018, has limited the touts’ ability to make a worthwhile profit.

The Uffizi Gallery also boasted a victory against the ticket touts, as a federal court in Arizona, US banned third parties from using web addresses that contained the word “Uffizi”. The same court also ordered BoxNic Anstalt, which had set up and used multiple sites to sell tickets to the gallery, to pay Uffizi $120,000 (£90,000/€106,000) in legal fees.

On the efforts against ticket touts, Schmidt added: “There were hundreds in the past, now there are just two or three.”