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Reduce public access to Sistine Chapel, Italian critic urges

October 01, 2012

An Italian writer has touched off a lively debate by suggesting that the Vatican should limit access to the Sistine Chapel to protect the artwork from “drunken herds” of tourists.

Pietro Citati, writing in Corriere della Sera, argued that Michelangelo’s frescoes are endangered by the “monstrous conditions” created by the crowds of tourists who visit the Sistine Chapel. About 5 million people file through the chapel every year, and Citati reports that tourists routinely ignore the rules—such as the ban on flash photography—that have been posted to safeguard the artwork.


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  • Posted by: scotty - Oct. 02, 2012 12:27 AM ET USA

    Apparently, this 'critic' doesn't understand simple economics: should access to the Sistine Chapel be restricted, less people will tour the Vatican Museums - the Chapel is the biggest draw of all the museums. Less 'paying' people, means less money for the Vatican Museums...

  • Posted by: rpp - Oct. 01, 2012 3:56 PM ET USA

    I was unaware that flash photography, over time, can damage paintings. If that is indeed the case, perhaps better enforcement would help. I do not believe, however, that closing the Sistine Chapel to tourists, many of whom are pilgrims, is desirable.