As emphasised by the Italian Minister of Heritage, Cultural Activities and Tourism, Dario Franceschini, 2017 saw “50 million visitors to Italy, with revenues hovering around the €200 million mark, indicating an increase of around 5 million visitors and €20 million from 2016”.

“For the fourth consecutive year, Italy is going against the trend in relation to the rest of Europe, with double-digit growth rates, especially in the southern regions, which have played a fundamental role in the formation of a national trend,” Mr Franceschini added.

The region with the largest number of visitors in 2017 was Lazio, with around 23 million visitors, followed by Campania with around 8.7 million.

Tuscany rounded out the top three with around 7 million visitors.

The most visited site remained the Colosseum, with more than 7 million people flocking to the ancient icon in 2017, followed by Pompeii (3.4 million), the Uffizi Gallery (2.2 million), the Accademia Gallery in Florence (1.6 million) and Castel Sant’Angelo (1.1 million).

There was also a strong increase in ticket sales for museums and archaeological sites, including: Palazzo Pitti (23 per cent); Royal Palace of Caserta (23 per cent); Ercolano (17 per cent); the National Archaeological Museum in Naples (16 per cent); and Paestum (15 per cent).

There was also a rise in the number of visitors to: the Musei Reali di Torino (15 per cent); Miramare Castle in Trieste (14 per cent); and the National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art (54 per cent).