The Museo Etrusco Guarnacci owns one of the best collections of Etruscan artifacts in Italy, including 600 intricately carved funeral urns. But what they don’t have, it seems, is a modern-day understanding that families come in all shapes, sizes, colors and genders. In August, the Italian museum in Volterra, perched on a high plateau in western Tuscany, refused to give an American gay couple and their son a family ticket. The Chicago couple reviewed the Museo Etrusco Guarnacci on TripAdvisor, rightfully labeling the destination as “homophobic.”



This photo of Museo Etrusco Guarnacci is courtesy of TripAdvisor

The couple wrote on TripAdvisor on Sept. 1, 2013 in a review titled “A Homophobic Institution”:

While we understand Italy is the seat of the Catholic faith, and we understand that our family is not accepted in many parts of the world, it is however 2013 and so we simply were not prepared for the slap in the face we received at this museum. Upon walking in, we read the ticket prices, and perhaps being used to Chicago museum definitions of “family”, as two adults with children, we smilingly asked for a family pass entrance. The woman behind the desk however got very angry and yelled at us in Italian that a family is made up of a mother and a father, and NOT two men. She then turned her head away to cut off any further communication. So, we left, disappointed and upset. While we could certainly respect the museum’s policy in how it defines entrance fees, it could have been handled differently. It was upsetting to us and our son and put a pallor over our perception of Volterra.

The Italian press has noticed their protest and interviewed the museum director, Fabrizio Burchianti, who told the Tirreno newspaper: “I did not know anything about it. Our museum stands for the inclusion of every kind of visitors. But I don’t have any freedom of choosing our pricing policies. So, it’s not my fault.” —Kirsten Ott Palladino