Quicker Museum Entrance for Visitors

Uffizi guests will no longer have to wait in seemingly interminable lines for a chance to marvel at the iconic works of art for which Florence is renowned.

The Uffizi Gallery, the Pitti Palace museum complex and the Boboli Gardens has just implemented a new method of admitting visitors aimed at eliminating long admission lines. Gallery director Eike Schmidt announced that a new input management system called the “amazzacode” will be activated after two years of study and data collection by the Uffizi and the University of L’Aquila.

The “ammazzacode” system is based on an algorithm that calculates an optimal entrance timetable using a refined statistical model, allowing the museums to maximize their capacity while preventing overcrowding in compliance with structural constraints.

Two years of statistics gathered on the number of people inside the galleries in the morning and the afternoon as well as according to the days of the week and seasons has been used to estimate the volume of tourists at given moments.  The process is the product of extensive research and analysis of information, data flows and even meteorological parameters.

Under the new project, visitors are assigned entrance times via coupons issued by interactive kiosks conveniently located under the arches in front of the Uffizi entrance. They must return to the Uffizi at the time designated by their coupon and will be admitted immediately to the museum to begin their tour.  The algorithm is always active during opening hours, working to slow down or to speed up the distribution of the the coupons to consent the entrance of no more than the maximum permitted.

Schmidt pointed out that this plan could be save lives as well as time – snaking lines of frustrated tourists are easy objectives not just for ticket scalpers and pickpockets, but for terrorists as well.

“Queues are an easy target,” he explained, “and eliminating them in this period of anti-terrorism alert is an advantage for everyone.”

The inaugural run of the “ammazzacode” took place on October 7, the Sunday of free entry in peak tourism season. Schmidt was pleased to report that 7,561 patrons visited the Uffizi without waiting in line. At Palazzo Pitti, the system was credited for a historic record of 10,805 admissions to the site throughout the day (a 62% increase from the number of visitors on the first Sunday of September).

“I am happy that tourists and art lovers for the first time in a long time could enter the gallery without being exhausted after hours of queuing,” Schmidt said.

The innovative algorithm is designed to increase efficiency and accessibility for the city’s world famous museums. Even more importantly, it will improve security, making it not only convenient to visit Florence’s historic works of art but safe as well.  (leigh van ryn)