Breathtaking Photos: The Vatican’s Gallery of the Maps
MUSEI VATICANI GOVERNATORATO SCV with kind Permission
O. Mascherino (architetto), I. Danti (cartoni per le carte geografiche), G. Muziano, C. Nebbia (decorazione della volta), Galleria delle Carte Geografiche, veduta, costruita da Mascherino per volere di Gregorio XIII (1572-1585) tra il 1578 e 1580 e decorata con le carte geografiche tra il 1580 e il 1583, Musei Vaticani, Palazzi Apostolici Vaticani
Visitors to the Vatican Museums are susceptible to a curious illusion. After a long walk through antiquities and tapestries, many reach the entrance to the Gallery of the Geographical Maps, where they stop abruptly (usually blocking the doorway), whip out cameras, and ask in awe, “Is this the Sistine Chapel?”
This “Gallery of the Maps Syndrome” is bound to reach epidemic levels after the restoration completed on April 23, which involved four years of careful and creative solutions to problems ranging from detached frescoes to pigments reduced to powder. Funded by the California Patrons of the Vatican Museums, the revitalized gallery is breathtaking. One suspects that the gallery’s original patron, Pope Gregory XIII Boncompagni, would be pleased to know that his contribution to the collection still amazes sophisticated modern visitors, especially since the next threshold is actually that of the Sistine Chapel.