The Vatican now offers small guided tours through areas previously locked to the public.
The Vatican Museums are reopening their doors to the public after a three-month closure due to world pandemic restrictions. The announcement comes after the Italian government eased social restrictions introduced in early November. With the museums reopening to a limited capacity, guests must continue to wear masks and practice social distancing.
It’s been a tough year for the Vatican’s museums, which were forced to close twice in 2020. After closing for several months in the spring, the museums were shuttered again on November 1. Catholic Sentinel notes that prior to 2020, the only time the Vatican had ever suspended museum operations was during the Allied bombing of Rome in WWII.
In a report from Vatican News, Director of the Vatican Museums Barbara Jatta explained that their work never ceased through the hiatus. Moving the majority of their exhibitions to a digital format, the museums produced short “Face to Face” videos. Viewers were given an inside look at the work that continued during the pandemic. Jatta noted that the Instagram page helped maintain public awareness and digital tours filled the gaps.
A new tour
The Catholic Sentinel report goes on to note that the reopening comes with a new “Hidden Vatican Museums” tour. This new tour will take visitors through areas previously closed to the public. Attendees will be guided through sights like the Niccoline Chapel, the Cabinet of Masks, and the famous double helix staircase. Interested parties would need to book this new tour in advance, with a 10-person limit.
The Vatican has noted that emergency procedures are still in effect moving forward. They have put together a comprehensive guide with everything one needs to know about the continuing restrictions.Read the full guide here.
Learn more about the Vatican Museums’ reopening, book a tour, or take a digital one here.