The Sistine Chapel is one of Italy’s biggest tourist sites and can see tens of thousands of visits every day. Visitors are often keen to catch a glimpse of Michelangelo’s iconic painted ceiling as well as a wealth of stunning architecture and beautiful frescoes. Unfortunately though, these vast numbers of people are beginning to cause damage to the interior of this famous landmark from the air pollution they are bringing in.
According to Vatican officials, they have noticed build ups of pollutants developing on several frescoes, which over time could lead to irreparable damage. The Vatican’s Museums director Antonio Paulucci offered his comments on the causation in the Vatican’s newspaper L’Osservatore Romano when he wrote:
‘Such a huge load of people produces a mixture of dust brought in from the outside, bodily humidity and carbon dioxide which ends up on the surfaces of the frescoes and can over time start to have a harmful effect on their preservation.’
Out with the Old in with the New
The solution has been to install a new air conditioning system to provide a more controlled and safer atmosphere inside the chapel. This has come following a series of investigations into the environment in the Sistine Chapel, which have lasted around three years.
This new system is to replace the old and ineffective air-con units installed in the 1990s. Although it would appear the Vatican has ‘kept the faith’ with the American-based company who fitted the originals, by once again using their services. The units themselves are said to be silent, and have been set to keep the temperature and humidity at specific levels that allow visitors to comfortably view the artwork, while not causing any damage.
Other Notable Changes
Those wanting to visit the Sistine Chapel will have to be prepared to wait a little longer in the queues though. The Vatican has limited the amount of visitors to no more than 2,000 at a time in order to further protect the building’s interior. Although as those who have already been there will qualify, it is worth the wait to preserve such a beautiful place.
This whole situation can be seen as a wake-up call for tourist attractions and homes across the UK that may contain fragile works. It is important to protect these pieces of our artistic and cultural history, so browse what we have on offer to find something that can provide you with a safe and protective climate.