Vatican acts to protect Michelangelo frescoes as Sistine Chapel visitors swell
Published on Jun 12, 2014 1:02 PM
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Dust, sweat and carbon dioxide brought into the Sistine Chapel by a swelling number of tourists risk damaging priceless Michelangelo frescoes, the Vatican said on Wednesday, hoping a new air conditioning and lighting system will protect them.
Some six million people a year visit the chapel, home to Michelangelo's famous ceiling frescoes - one of the wonders of Western civilisation that are over 500 years old.
The number of visitors to the chapel - where popes are elected in secret conclaves - can reach 20,000 a day in summer.
Their numbers have grown by 300 per cent from around 1.5 million a year in 1980, said Antonio Paolucci, head of the Vatican museums.
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