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How to enter museums for free?

Have you ever wondered how to visit that exhibition of your favorite artist for free? Or have you ever stuck at the ticket office in crisis for stratospheric prices? In this article I give you a few simple tips on how to enter museums in Italy and abroad for free.

Number 1. Visit the museum’s website or social

networks Trivial, but always useful. First of all, of course, visit the website or social networks of the museums you want to discover. In fact, you can almost always find information on the cost of the ticket, but also on reductions and any free tickets. 

For some categories, there are usually reductions related to age, for example the under 18, the over 65 or the under 25 or the profession: especially for university students but also for teachers.

On the museum website you can also find extraordinary openings with possible free tickets. An example of this is the Museo del Novecento in Milan, where every Tuesday afternoon from 2.00 pm admission is free for anyone. Another example, also in Milan, are the civic museums, where you can enter for free every day, one hour before closing.

Number 2. Free days

Every first Sunday of the month the state museums can be visited for free. The initiative is called Sunday at the museum. Here you have to be careful because not all museums in our cities are state-owned. For example, some may be civic museums, that is linked to the Municipality, and in any case partially adhere to the initiative. How then? Just consult the website of the Ministry of Heritage and Cultural Activities on the page dedicated to the initiative, which you can find at this link

Also among the free initiatives are the Night of the Museums, which gives the opportunity to visit the museum at times when we are not used to and is an excellent opportunity especially for those who work or want to spend a different evening in company. Or the European Heritage Days. In fact, there are many other initiatives related to individual cities such as, for example, the streets of treasures in Palermo. 

Number 3. Press conference and inauguration

Here is finally the first real trick I have learned in recent years working in the art world. Attend press conferences or exhibition openings. In reality, it is especially true for exhibitions temporary which are, however, also often the most expensive ones.

The press conference is almost always on the morning of the opening of the exhibition, but how do you know when it will take place? Very simple. For example, if an exhibition opens to the public on February 2 in 90% of cases, the press conference will be on the morning of February 1, therefore the day before and the inauguration on the evening of 1. Don’t be afraid to go to the press conference or the inauguration, I was the first to feel embarrassed the first few times but then the embarrassment disappears. These are golden occasions in which you can not only see the works for free but also meet interesting people to listen to or chat with. I recommend that you keep an eye on the exhibition calendar of your favorite museum and write down the dates that are most important to you in your diary.

Number 4. ICOM card

This advice is addressed to art history students. As we already know in many museums you can enter for free, but how to enter museums for free really everywhere? Here comes theICOM. In fact, ICOM gives university students the possibility to apply for the card as a member of the association at an annual cost of € 45, but which allows them to enter almost anywhere for free.

Here is the link for the application: ICOM application.

Number 5. City card

Another way to save in this case is to buy both for the city where you live and for those you visit while traveling, which allow you to enter museums for free or with a reduction. Usually if you cannot take advantage of other reductions and you still want to visit numerous museums, it is better to buy them. But it is not always said! 

In my opinion, the card of a specific region or city works, such as theLombardy Milan Museum Subscription , but only if you have enough time to visit the numerous museums that are in agreement.


With foreign countries, a world of belonging literally opens up. In fact, it depends a lot on the city. There are, in my opinion, three different models.

The first is that of London, where most of the museums are free so National Gallery, British Museum, Tate Modern, Tate Britain, National Portrait and many others. In these cases it is not difficult to plan a trip with the opportunity to visit extraordinary museums full of great works of art.

On the contrary, the second model is that of Vienna or Oslo. Two cities with several interesting museums, as for example in Vienna the Museum Quarter area, but with very high prices if you are unable to take advantage of a reduction.

Finally, the third intermediate model is that of Munich where it is possible to visit the main museums of the city every first Sunday of the month at a cost of 1 euro each. Museums that host true masterpieces by Leonardo, Monet, Van Gogh, Picasso and many others and which usually have a very high ticket cost.

Therefore, I advise you to plan your trip if possible also according to the free tickets or reductions that you can take advantage of in each specific city. An opportunity is to follow this blog or the Youtube channel of Art & theCities as I will try for each city I tell to also include advice on how to organize the trip.

ISIC card

One last piece of advice, which I would like to give to students, if you want to travel abroad, is to request the ISIC card which will allow you to have discounts and at the same time to be able to enter the inside the museums.

In this post I tried to put together all the tricks I know about how to enter museums in Italy and abroad for free. If you found it useful, share it on Facebook and follow the blog and Youtube channel again for other travel tips and art.

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