Italy’s antitrust authority is investigating ticketing operations at the Colosseum and other ancient sites in the capital following reports of difficulties in buying tickets via the official website.
The investigation centers around the official vendor, Società Cooperativa Culture (CoopCulture), and four tour companies—Musement, GetYourGuide, Tiqets, and Viator—which visitors accuse of buying tickets in bulk via automated systems and reselling them at inflated prices.
The issue has been the source of contention for some time, with visitors being left unable to buy tickets for the iconic monument from the official vendor as Big tour companies reportedly snap them up in advance and repackage them as much more expensive guided tours.
Carlo Rienzi, President of consumers rights body Codacons, raises the alarm over the controversial practice: “We ask the government to introduce new provisions capable not only of blocking secondary ticketing, but also of imposing very heavy penalties on those sites.”
Letizia Casuccio, Director General of CoopCulture, counters the criticism, claiming to have systems in place to counter bulk ticket purchases: “CoopCulture has systems in place to counter (ticket) purchases in bulk”.
Alfonsina Russo, Colosseum Archaeological Park Director, expressed relief on learning the news: “It was ‘about time’ the issue was investigated.”, referring to the complaint she filed with the police last year over the bulk buying of tickets.
Full-price single tickets for the Colosseum Archaeological Park, which include entry to the Flavian Amphitheatre, the Palatine Hill, the Roman Forum and the Domus Aureas, cost 18 euros each via the official website. However, as of Tuesday morning, the website appeared to show no availability until August 9th, although ‘skip the line’ tickets for the same day were available from numerous resellers online at around double the price.
The Colosseum is the biggest amphitheatre in the Roman Empire and was built to host gladiator fights, executions, and animal hunts. Unfortunately, despite the age and cultural signifigance of the monument, visitors have continually been caught indulging in graffiti on the walls of the Colosseum, a practice which has been condemned by the local authorities.
The issue of secondary ticketing is costing Italy millions of euros annually and with the antitrust authorities finally taking action, there is hope for an end to the scandal.
The investigation is ongoing and authorities have yet to announce any outcomes. However, it is certain that the findings will go a long way towards restoring the sense of fairness and order for which the Colosseum and other ancient sights of the eternal city have come to symbolize.