The Uffizi's new 'Super Director'
April 11 2017
In Apollo, editor Thomas Marks has an interview with the Eike Schmidt, one of the new generation of often foreign-born directors brought into try and shake up the Italian museum sector. One of Schmidt's first challenges is to fix the way visitors enter the museum:
Crowd control is inevitably one of Schmidt’s highest priorities. This begins with the chaotic ticketing system, whereby visitors can queue for hours in high season or pay a premium for a timed ticket, the revenue from which goes to the private contractor that (mis)manages the system. ‘It’s virtually the same way of people purchasing tickets as they did when the Uffizi first opened to the public in 1769,’ Schmidt says.
An early attempt by Schmidt to help fix the queues saw him being fined €295 by the City of Florence; he had used loudspeakers to warn visitors about ticket touts, but was prosecuted by city officials for illegal broadcasting. Which tells you all you need to know about the enormous challenge Schmidt faces...
We were just in Rome recently, and the ticket touts at sites like the Colloseum are a menace. Those at the Vatican Museums are even worse.