I’ve been twice, before I had faith so I saw it with secular eyes, it was so magnificent. However, as this article points out both times it was wall-to-wall with noisy tourists ignoring the no photography rule and guards yelling “NO PHOTO” in every language they knew with no effect.
But as the crush of visitors grows year by year, this home to Michelangelo’s majestic 16th-century frescoes often feels more like a packed, sweaty, and very noisy railway station.
Five million tourists surge through the chapel every year, craning their necks to get a glimpse of the scenes painted on the 130ft-long ceiling, flouting the ban on flash photography and ignoring pleas from guards to lower their voices.
In an article in Corriere della Sera, Pietro Citati, a leading literary critic and biographer, has demanded that the Vatican limit access to the chapel, claiming it would save the frescoes from damage and restore some decorum to the consecrated site.
Do you think there should be some reforms to make the atmosphere more “chapel-like?”
At least for now the Vatican is pushing back against that:
The manager of the Vatican museums, which include the chapel, fought back on Friday in the pages of the Holy See’s daily paper, L’Osservatore Romano.
“The days when only Russian grand dukes and English lords or [American art expert] Bernard Berenson could gain access to the great masterpieces are definitely over,” wrote Antonio Paolucci. “We have entered the era of large-scale tourism, and millions want to enjoy our historical culture,” he said. “Limiting numbers is unthinkable.”