Breaking News —
Vatican City, May 23 . .- The Vatican Museums will open from June 1 after almost three months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic and will do so with extraordinary security measures to avoid contagions between employees and tourists.
In addition, on Saturdays and Sundays the papal villa of Castel Gandolfo, the historic summer residence of the popes on the outskirts of Rome, will reopen, although visitors will take their temperature and will only be able to enter with a mask and prior reservation.
The Vatican Museums, one of the great tourist and cultural attractions of the Italian capital, have set out to reopen, guaranteeing health and safety “as much as possible” but without jeopardizing the enjoyment of the vast heritage they preserve.
Visitors must wear a mask and the temperature will be taken at the entrance, the ambulatory of the Vatican Health and Hygiene Department will always remain active and will ensure that the safety distance between people is respected.
The entrances to the Museum, always crowded with tourists, will also be controlled and dosed, and an extraordinary schedule will be promoted to avoid the frequent queues under its walls.
In this period there is no charge. From June 1 the reservation on the official website (www.museivaticani.va) will be compulsory and the rate of 4 euros for management expenses will be charged, explained the chief inspector of the Museums, Diego Ortuso.
Free admission is also suspended on the last Sunday of each month, especially busy, and reservations may be reviewed depending on the evolution of the pandemic.
The deputy director of the Directorate of Health, Andrea Arcangeli, assured that the Museums have been “deeply disinfected” and the works of art cleaned with special products, although it was not necessary because they are not touched by visitors.
The director of the Museums, Barbara Jatta, advanced that the intention is to return to continue “sharing the universal and extraordinary heritage of history, art and faith” that this institution has guarded for centuries.
Its reopening will feature tributes to the figure of the Renaissance genius Rafael, of whom this 2020 marks the fifth centenary of his death.
The Museums will show the restoration of the Constantine Room in the Apostolic Palace, decorated with frescoes made by Rafael’s students after his death in 1520, and the eighth room of the Pinacoteca, dedicated to the genius of Urbino, has also been renovated.
Italy, with 32,616 deaths from coronaviruses and more than 228,000 infected, is in the process of reducing the restriction and unconfinement measures, imposed since March 9, at the beginning of the health crisis.
The small Vatican City State, with twelve detected infections, has followed in Italy’s footsteps, in collaboration with its authorities, and is now proceeding with its opening. On May 18, for example, masses were allowed again.