are often entirely concealed by the temporary decorations. Those
always covered are shown by the verger (sagrestano), who expects
30-50 c. from a single traveller, more from a party (p. xiii).
Museums, picture-galleries, etc., are usually open from 9 or
10 to 3 or 4 o'clock. All the collections which belong to Govern¬
ment are open free on Sun. and holidays, but on week-days a charge
is usually made. Gratuities are forbidden.
The collections are closed on the following public holidays: New
Year's Day, Epiphany (6th Jan.), Easter Sunday, Ascension Day (Ascen-
sione), F6te de Dieu (Corpus Christi), the Festa dello Statuto (first Sun¬
day in June), Assumption of the Virgin (Assunzione; 15th Aug.), Nati¬
vity of the Virgin (8th Sept.), Festival of the Annunciation (25th Mar.),
All Saints' Day (1st Nov.), and Christmas Day; also the birthdays of
the king (11th Nov.) and queen (8th Jan.). The arrangements, however,
vary in different places. In Florence, for instance, the festa of San Gio¬
vanni Patrono (24th June) is kept, in Rome the anniversary of the entry
of the Italian troops (Sept. 20th; p. 310), and in Naples Whitsunday and
the 19th Sept. (St. Januarius). — The Papal collections are closed on Sun¬
days and church-festivals and on the last Thursday in October.
Theatres. Performances begin at 8,8.30, or 9, and terminate
at midnight or later. In the large theatres, in which the season
(stagione) frequently lasts only from St. Stephen's Day (Dec. 26th)
to the end of the Carnival, operas and ballets are exclusively per¬
formed. The first act of an opera is usually succeeded by a ballet
of three acts or more. The pit (platea), to which the 'biglietto d'in-
gresso' gives access, has standing-room only; for seats additional
tickets must be taken (usually in advance in the larger towns). A
box (palco di primo, secondo, terzo ordine), which must always
be secured in advance, is the pleasantest place for ladies or for a
party of several persons. Evening-dress is generally worn in the
boxes. Other reserved seats are the poltrone (front stalls) and the
posti distinti or sedie (rear stalls). The theatre is the usual even¬
ing-resort of the Italians, who seldom observe strict silence during
the performance of the opera. The intervals between the acts are
usually very long. Cloak-rooms are found only in a few of the best
theatres. Gentlemen usually wear their hats until the curtain rises.
Shops. Fixed prices have of late become much more general,
but a reduction may usually be obtained on purchases of large
amount. The traveller's demeanour should be polite but decided.
Purchases should never be made in presence of a guide or through
the agency of a hotel-employee. These individuals, by tacit agree¬
ment, receive a commission on the purchase-money, which of course
comes out of the purchaser's pocket. On the other hand, the presence
of an Italian friend is a distinct advantage.
Some caution is necessary in buying articles to be sent home. The
full amount should never be paid until the package has arrived and its
contents have been examined. If the shopkeeper does not agree to a
written agreement as to the method of packing, the means of transport,
and compensation for breakages, it is advisable to cut the transaction short.
The transmission of large objects should be entrusted to a goods-agent.