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A vacuum cleaner on the clothes for the Tourists to save the Sistine Chapel

VATICAN CITY – Open to the public the new photo library with images from 800 million today; renovate the lighting and air conditioning of the Sistine Chapel, to develop a system of suction dusting visitors before they enter the chapel: are projects that Antonio Paolucci, director of the Vatican Museums, hopes to achieve by 2013. “The money is there, work is well under way,” assures. So much so that he is already focused on a new goal: to create a virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel. “A speech that should be addressed sooner or later.”

How do you imagine this tour?

“As a space where the visitor sits and listens in all languages of the world an explanation on the frescoes of Michelangelo, and before his eyes scroll through the images of the vault and the Last Judgement, but greatness Atlantic, as he could never get to see them in Sistine true. “

Have you already identified this space?

“You could build the so-called tennis court, a large pavilion where we welcome the twenty thousand visitors who currently run every day inside the Sistine Chapel.”

The virtual tour could alleviate the massive presence of the visitors doubled in the last twenty years and growing?

“The virtual tour is not intended as a substitute for the real one, but to help you understand what you are going to see. Those who enter the Sistine actually comes in a huge theological and cultural charade that it is hard to imagine at first glance. Despite being part of a museum, the Sistine Chapel is not a museum. It is a sacred space where we celebrate the great liturgies and elect popes. It is the synthesis of Catholic theology. In the virtual pavilion the visitor could find the tools to understand the frescoed scenes, to place them in time, in history, in the doctrine that gave them the image and meaning. ”

He spoke of a new space for the photo library.

“It is already being set up on the first floor of the Vatican Museums: more than two thousand square meters obtained by the entrance.”

And a plant to dust the visitors entering the Sistine Chapel.

“Dusting, clean, cool.”


“Covering a hundred yards before the entrance with a carpet that cleans the shoes, installing suction nozzles along the roadside to suck the dust of the clothes, lowering the temperature to remove heat and moisture from the body. Dust, temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide are the great enemies of the paintings. ”

Director of Museums since December 2007, Paolucci has created new itineraries, including the disabled. Established an Office of the Superintendent and an Office of the Registrar, with the task to monitor the maintenance of the immense artistic heritage, convinced that prevention is as important as the restoration. He tried to make the most possible “permeable and transparent ‘Museums, to” bring into contact with everyone “, opening the doors to interns and sending the restorers to follow the major international conferences. Has successfully inaugurated visits Friday night in summer and autumn. Has put captions next to the works and broadened the range of languages in the ear guides and publications, with a focus on Korean and Chinese.

Has set up seminars for teachers of art history. “We should teach it since grade school. Children see things that adults escape. ” Different initiatives, but with a single goal: understanding the function of museums as tools to civilize the people. “I also claimed Napoleon. The museums, such as libraries and schools in the nineteenth century would be used to transform the populace in cives. In our day the word civilization is obsolete, no longer interested. Of little interest even education, because it evokes the fatigue study. Ours is a time of leisure, vacation, leisure. The museums have fallen into the ambiguity that you can make fun. We enter to look at the pictures, as you might look at a program on television. But without commitment, without any effort, it is useless to deal with this forest of figures we call museum. It comes out exactly as you entered, without any cultural enrichment. ”


Lauretta Colonelli

Corriere della Sera

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