by Sandro Pintus

The tourist boom in Florence
Over 7 million art lovers in 1996

Florence is becoming more and more popular with tourists and this has recently been confirmed by the Azienda di Promozione Turistica. 1996 was in fact a boom year for tourism, in fact 7 million 274 people have visited its museums and places of art. As usual the Uffizi Gallery came first and foremost among the museums, with a 10% increase in its number of visitors, and selling almost 1 million 200 thousand tickets. Visited above all by Americans and Japanese, the' Academy Gallery containing Michelangelo's David came a close second, with almost 900 thousand visitors, in other words, a 3,5% increase in tourists; the Boboli Gardens came third with almost 800 thousand visitors, in spite of its recent introduction of an entrance fee.

The Uffizi Museum (photo FAN 1997)
However the Laurentian Library was the museum that had the highest percentage of visitor increase in one year, with a rise of almost 100 thousand people, passing from 72 thousand in 1995 to 170 thousand in 1996. The Palatine Gallery was also repaid for staying open all day (8.30-19.00) because it had an 18,7% increase, with over 400 thousand visitors; after its 15 year long restoration, the Cupola of Brunelleschi was visited by a public of over 365 thousand, while as many as 281 thousand people visited Giotto's Belltower The latest Museums to have opened in Florence Museums, the Diocese Museum of Santo Stefano al Ponte, damaged in the same bomb explosion as the Accademia dei Georgofili in 1993, and the Museum of Orsanmichele, have also had a huge success with the public. On the other hand, there has been an 11,5% decrease in visits to Palazzo Vecchio probably due to the increase in ticket prices at the time of the Caravaggio exhibition, although at least 365 thousand people went round it last year. The museums in Fiesole were also extremely popular: the Bandini Museum, the Roman Amphitheatre and the Archeological Museum were able to welcome over 130 thousand visitors; Leonardo has also been very popular with visitors: the Leonardo Museum at Vinci has in fact had over 116 thousand visitors.


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