Italy has officially entered Phase 2 of the COVID-19 emergency – which means the lockdown is easing up a little and the country is slowly reopening one piece at a time, including the four thousand museums and archaeological sites that make up Italy’s unique cultural landscape.

According to the government, Italian museums are free to re-open on 18 May as long as they can guarantee the observation of safety and social distancing measures. That means that not all museums will actually start welcoming visitors again in the middle of May.

A street in the archaeological park of Pompeii
Museums are still waiting for precise dispositions from the Government, but it's clear that safety and social distancing measures will have to be observed before it's possible to reopen © Viacheslav Lopatin/Shutterstock

Some of them, like the archaeological parks of Pompeii and Tivoli’s Villa Adriana, will take advantage of being open-air. For others, like the Uffizi Museum of Florence, the process will be harder – even before the pandemic, less than 1000 people were allowed inside the museum at the same time. That’s bound to make coordinating for Phase 2 a bit more difficult.

A longshot of the main corridor inside Florence's Uffizi Museum
It will certainly be easier on some museums than others and not everyone will be able to reopen as soon as they would like © trabantos/Shutterstock

Italian Minister for Culture Dario Franceschini said recently that the main objective is to “decongest the most famous destinations” in favour of smaller, lesser-known ones so that all safety measures can be respected. What’s certain is that every museum will have full autonomy in regards to opening and ticketing and that certain things might not be as easy as they used to be – international loans for exhibitions, for example. But that might turn out to be a great opportunity to showcase those pieces of the collection that never make it out of storage.

In the meantime, visitors both in Italy and around the world can explore the museums and archaeological parks of the Bel Paese online – from a drone tour of Pompeii to a virtual walkthrough Raphael exhibit inside the Palace of the Quirinale in Rome.

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