This article originally appeared in the April 2018 issue of Dream of Italy
Rome’s Pantheon, which was free to enter, has started charging a 2€ entry fee as of May 2. Part of the proceeds will fund maintenance and restoration projects for the monument, which was built in 126 AD and welcomes more than 7 million tourists per year. Religious services will remain free of charge.The monument will be closed to tourists while religious services are held.
Originally built as a Roman temple, the Pantheon, whose name means “temple of all gods,” has been used as a Christian church since the 7th century. Because it is a place of worship, the Pantheon has not yet charged admission in keeping with tradition of the Roman vicariate.
The Italian culture ministry and Roman diocesan authorities have floated the idea of the entry fee for the past two years, and Culture Minister Dario Franceschini officially announced it in December 2017. — Elaine Murphy