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The Most Popular Museums in Italy for 2007

Anyone waiting in the long line to get into the Uffizi Gallery or the Vatican Museums on a hot summer day will recognize that they’re standing outside one of Italy’s top museums. But if you’re looking for a list of Italy’s most popular museums based on the actual number of visitors, Touring Club Italia has come to the rescue.

Touring Club Italia puts out a guide to Italy’s museums each year, and they’ve just released the 2008 edition (PDF, in Italian). In it, they have produced a list of the 30 most popular museums in Italy (using 2007 statistics). I wasn’t surprised by the top three on the list, but I was really surprised by some of the results.

The #1 museum in Italy is the Vatican Museum – no surprises there. That’s followed by Pompeii at #2 and the Uffizi at #3 – again, no surprises. The surprises for me were these:

  • #4 – Palazzo Ducale in Venice – I realize there aren’t many “sights,” per se, in Venice, but the fact that the Palazzo Ducale (which isn’t nearly as cool as the Basilica San Marco in my book) ranks 4th in the entire country was an eyebrow-raiser for me.
  • #6 – Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence – The only thing that makes this a bit more understandable (that it’s not higher on the list) is that so many people see the David standing in front of the Palazzo Vecchio and think that’s the real thing, without realizing the real one’s in the Accademia.
  • #26 – Leonardo’s Last Supper in Milan – Given how frigging challenging it is to get tickets to this thing for anything less than two months in advance, I’m shocked that it’s not higher on the list.
  • Not Listed – Duomo in Milan – I’m surprised that the symbol of Milan isn’t on the list, although perhaps the number of visitors isn’t tracked because it’s free to enter.
  • Not Listed – Leaning Tower in Pisa – One of Italy’s iconic images isn’t on the list? That was unexpected.
  • Not Listed – Colosseum in Rome – This one is the most surprising omission to me… The Colosseum isn’t in the top 30? Really? Then what’s with the huge line outside to get in?

In addition to the list of the most popular museums in Italy, this year’s museum guide from the Touring Club Italia also announced that most Italian museums aren’t going to be winning any awards for customer service. Of course, anyone who’s spent any time in Italy and who knows that the concept of “customer service” hasn’t yet made it to The Boot isn’t going to be surprised by that pronouncement.

For more, see the Italofile article.