World

Italy's culture minister irate after Colosseum closed half a day by union meeting

  • Tourists, queuing to enter the Colosseum, walk past a notice informing visitors of the monument’s temporary closure Friday morning due to an archaeological workers union meeting, in Rome, Friday, Sept. 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

    Tourists, queuing to enter the Colosseum, walk past a notice informing visitors of the monument’s temporary closure Friday morning due to an archaeological workers union meeting, in Rome, Friday, Sept. 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)  (The Associated Press)

  • A reproduction of an ancient Roman centurion helmet is placed on a trash bin in front of the Colosseum, as notices inform visitors of the monument’s temporary closure Friday morning due to an archaeological workers union meeting, in Rome, Friday, Sept. 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

    A reproduction of an ancient Roman centurion helmet is placed on a trash bin in front of the Colosseum, as notices inform visitors of the monument’s temporary closure Friday morning due to an archaeological workers union meeting, in Rome, Friday, Sept. 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)  (The Associated Press)

  • A note is attached on a street sign in front of the Colosseum, in Rome, Friday, Sept. 18, 2015. The monument temporary closed Friday morning due to an archaeological workers union meeting. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

    A note is attached on a street sign in front of the Colosseum, in Rome, Friday, Sept. 18, 2015. The monument temporary closed Friday morning due to an archaeological workers union meeting. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)  (The Associated Press)

Thousands of tourists have been kept out of the Colosseum by a union meeting, prompting the culture minister to vow measures to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Dario Franceschini expressed anger that for an entire morning on Friday, "tourists were left to wait in line in front of the whole world, this time at the Colosseum, the most important archaeological site in Rome."

He said Premier Matteo Renzi agreed to pursue measures to protect Italy's cultural treasures from strikes, with new norms defining Italian monuments and museums as essential services.

It's not the first time that a labor dispute left tourists waiting. A strike at Pompeii earlier this summer left lines of tourists baking in the sun outside the World Heritage archaeological site.