The Vatican Museums closed for the third time in a year due to the pandemic
Alessandro Di Bussolo – Vatican City
For the third time in the past year, the Pope’s Museums are closed to the public. Following the example of the Italian government in containing the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vatican Museums will be closed “as a precautionary measure” from Monday 15 March to Tuesday 6 April, the expiry date of the decree by the Italian authorities.
The suspension also applies to “all activities of a tourist, museum and cultural nature in the Papal Villas of Castel Gandolfo,” according to website and in Instagram Vatican Museums. All tickets purchased for excursions or visits and booked for the closing period will be automatically refunded so that visitors “do not have to make an official claim for reimbursement”.
With our apologies for the inconvenience, the Museum Administration is ready to provide the necessary information and support, which should be contacted at [email protected]… The museums page on Instagram says: “Even if we are closed in the near future, we will publish the most beautiful photographs taken by visitors on our account every week.” The museums intend to stay in touch with the public, which – thanks also to the museums’ YouTube channel – has always admired the treasures of art, history and faith held in the Papal Collections, also in the previous periods of museum closures. The Instagram post ends with a wish: “We hope to see you again soon.”
The first period of closure of the Papal Collections, associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, lasted 84 days, from March 9 to June 1, 2020. On this occasion, director Barbara Yatta told VaticanNews (January 14, 2020) that “none of the museum staff, except very few, went to work due to the general quarantine.” The second period of suspension of public visits – from November 6, 2020 to February 1, 2021 – was the longest since the Second World War. At this time, “the entire team of restorers and the entire staff of the museums began to work, observing all the requirements of sanitary safety.”
Barbara Yatta noted that during the 88 days of the second lockdown, which also affected all museums and exhibitions in Italy, “the work of the publishing section has never stopped, as well as the research and restoration activities of departments, repair sites and laboratories. The preservation and study of works from our collection also continues because we are more free, ”said the director of the Vatican Museums Pontifical, hoping that the third closing period will be much shorter than the two previous ones.