'Fast-track' unofficial Uffizi tickets spark controversy

Paying three times more to skip long lines

'Fast-track' unofficial Uffizi tickets spark controversy

Florence, August 21 - A number of associations and lone entrepreneurs are offering tourists who want to visit Florence's Uffizi Museum special packages which cost three times the amount of a regular ticket but enable them to avoid long waiting lines to visit one of the world's most famous galleries, Corriere Fiorentino, the local insert of Corriere della Sera, reported on Wednesday. A ticket to visit the Uffizi costs 6.50 euros plus four euros for a reservation - though the price is currently 11 euros because a ticket gives access to an exhibit in Palazzo Pitti as well. An increasing number of tourists however have reportedly been offered 35-euro packages allegedly including a tour guide which, the local paper reports, are only tailor-made to skip lines which during the peak of the summer season can stretch until the Arno River. The museum has posted signs warning visitors that tickets sold at a higher price than those listed on the billboard have nothing to do with the museum's administration. However, no further action has been taken so far as the tickets offered in the packages have been regularly purchased online at their standard price. "This market is not worthy of a civilized country," said Uffizi Director Antonio Natali, adding he consulted lawyers to see whether the museum could take action against the practice. "We are bothered by this but everything appears to be legal," said Cristina Acidini, Florence cultural heritage superintendent, adding she found particularly disturbing that the fast-track tickets were being offered in front of the gallery. Some packages however are reportedly now being sold online.

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