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Italian church entrance fees for tourists raise controversy
    The fine line between churches and museums in Italy is beginning to erode.
    Some of the country's most famous churches, including Venice's Basilica of San Marco, already charge entrance fees for the hordes of art-hungry tourists.
    Florence city officials announced in early January that the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella also would begin charging visitors.
    In Rome, some entrepreneurs also want to begin the practice. But the Rome Diocese filed an appeal with the regional court just before Christmas, asking that a state decision to turn over the management of three churches to private companies be blocked.
   
CNS
   
9-Jan-01

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