The Vatican imposes limit on tourism in the Sistine Chapel for art’s sake

If you think a tour to the Vatican city isn’t complete without checking out the masterpieces in the Sistine chapel, then tough luck. The Vatican just limited tours in the Sistine Chapel after unveiling the new hi-tech lighting and air purification systems in the centuries-old chapel. Over 70 monitors that control machines were also installed outside the chapel to monitor airflow, filter dust and minimize humidity.

The Vatican imposed a limit on the number of visitors to the landmark to protect the frescos from further damage caused by too many people breathing the same air in one confined space, all at the same time.

Some of the artwork in the Sistine chapel are almost 500 years old. Unfortunately, body sweat, dust and carbon dioxide could damage the masterpieces, causing them to deteriorate faster.

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The number of visitors will now be limited to six million a year. Back in the day, the number of visitors could reach 20,000 per day with up to 2,000 people allowed inside at a time.

Now the current system will work through a combination of online reservations or travel agencies. Visitors may also queue outside. The Vatican is entertaining the idea of switching to a strict reservations-only system in the future.

In 1994, Michelangelo’s frescoes, which were unveiled in 1512 by Pope Julius, went through a major restoration that spanned fourteen years!

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