'No limit can be set on Sistine access'

Vatican museums chief Paolucci rebuts claims by critic Citati

'No limit can be set on Sistine access'

(ANSA) – Vatican City, September 27 – Limiting the number of tourists accessing the Vatican Museum where the world-renowned Sistine Chapel is located would be unthinkable, according to Vatican Museums Director Antonio Paolucci. Paolucci responded Thursday in Vatican daily L'Osservatore Romano to an article in Milan daily Corriere della Sera that stated mass tourism was causing damage to the chapel. "It's likely that in some time it will be necessary to restructure the Sistine Chapel another time," said the article by writer and literary critic Pietro Citati. "And then again and again, as the large vaulted ceilings of the chapel are filled with human breaths over time". Paolucci said the difficulties the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel faced were the same as those faced by all museums frequented by masses of tourists, like the Uffizi and the Louvre. Even so, setting a limit on access is unthinkable, as the days that only the elite could access cultural masterpieces were long gone by. "We have tripled the number of guards and for the past two years we have been carrying out a study to examine how to better ventilate and control humidity," said Paolucci, adding that the number of people set to visit would rise in future years. The Sistine chapel is not only an artistic place but it is also a consecrated chapel, he added. "With the development of the economies in emerging countries, the number of people that will be able to afford the trip to visit Rome and view this beauty and the two symbols that are the capital of Christianity, the Colosseum and the Sistine Chapel, will increase," Paolucci said.

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