Italy museums see record numbers of visitors, revenue

ROME — Italian museums are on track for another record-setting year in 2017 in terms of visitors and revenue, with the outdoor Colosseum in Rome and Pompeii near Naples topping the Culture Ministry's most-visited and most-lucrative list.

The ministry on Monday issued a three-year review of its revolutionary decision to bring in non-Italian museum directors and give museums greater autonomy. The results were significant: an 18.5 percent increase in the number of visitors nationwide from 2013-2016, and a 38.4 percent increase in revenue, to 175 million euros.

Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said the ministry's reforms "are starting to bear fruit."

With more UNESCO heritage sites than any other country, Italy's outdoor cultural patrimony is its biggest draw, with traditional museums often playing second fiddle and lacking in labeling, educational activities and marketing.

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