Italian culture minister vows no entry fee for Rome’s Pantheon

Plans to make tourists pay to visit Rome’s Pantheon monument will be scrapped for good, according to Italian Culture Minister Alberto Bonisoli.
In a Facebook message posted on Thursday, Bonisoli said he did not want to limit access to the site, a nearly 2,000-year-old former pagan temple that has been turned into a Catholic church.
“If a tourist wants to give us a hand [with an offer], that is always welcome, but the Pantheon is and must remain [a] free [attraction],”Bonisoli said.
Under Italy’s previous government, the Culture Ministry said last year that tourists would have been charged a 2-euro (2.3 dollar)entry fee for the Pantheon, starting from May 2, 2018, to help payfor its upkeep.
The ticketing reform was suspended sometime this year, and Bonisoli’s announcement marks the final end to the plan, a ministry spokeswoman said Friday.
The Pantheon was completed by emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century AD and is one of the best preserved monuments of ancient Rome, partly because its transformation into a church in the 7th century AD ensured its continued use.
It is famous for its huge dome with a round hole on the top, which casts a beam of light on its marbled interiors. Also a mausoleum, it hosts the remains of Renaissance master Raphael and of several members of the now-abolished Italian monarchy. — dpa