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The Vatican may be closed, but now you can take a free online tour


albertizeme | Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

J-P Mauro - published on 03/19/20

A faithful, educational way to spend your time in isolation.

With much of the world in quarantine over the coronavirus, there’s a desperate need for something to do! Thanks to the internet we can explore the Vatican’s wonderful collections of art from a safe social distance.

MET Opera

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The Vatican Museums, visited by an estimated 5 million people per year, are closed to the public until at least April 3. While this date could be pushed forward depending on the state of world health in April, their virtual doors will remain open all day, every day. Anyone with internet connection can now safely peruse the Vatican’s art and artifacts.

They have seven tours available: the Sistine Chapel, the Pio Clementino Museum, the Chiaramonti Museum, the New Wing, Raphael’s Rooms, the Niccoline Chapel, and the Room of the Chiaroscuri. Once the tour has started, visitors enjoy the ability to move about a room and view it from any angle, with 360 degrees of head turning.

Interested parties should also consider following their Instagram feed (@vaticanmuseums), where they choose several pieces each day and curate them for the public. They share the historical significance of each object they examine, which is an excellent companion to a virtual tour.

While it’s hard to compete with the real thing, the virtual tours are completely free to use and they never close their doors. Now you can go walking through the Sistine Chapel at 3 a.m., a feat which one could never have accomplished even before the world shut down for COVID-19.

So the next time you run out of things to do, when the board games get boring and dog just doesn’t want to go after the tennis ball anymore, consider visiting the Vatican Museums’ website and bask in the marvelous wonder of being surrounded by the finest art in Catholic history.

ArtChurch HistoryCoronavirusVatican
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