(Source: MJ/Vatican News)
The Holy See Press Office announced that the Vatican Museums and the Pontifical Villas of Castel Gandolfo will reopen their doors to the public on June 1.
The Vatican Museums reopening coincides with Italy’s gradual easing of the nearly 3-month lockdown, which allows many businesses and activities to restart.
The reopening of the Pontifical Villas of Castel Gandolfo and a new open-bus tour have also been announced.
Health and art
Due to the current health emergency situation, the Vatican Museums are ensuring a very careful balance between safety and health needs and the dynamics of a museum visit, without compromising the essence of such a visit.
Hence, in keeping with the norms of hygiene and physical distance, visitors to the Museums will be subject to a body temperature check and will be allowed in only with a facemask.
A medical and health team from Italy’s Misericordie volunteer group and the Vatican’s Health and Hygiene Department will ensure every need during the opening hours.
Other important requirements for the reopening of the museums will be revised from time to time as the current emergency situation evolves.
In order to restrict the number of entries, the Vatican Museums have limited ticket sales to online booking only from the official website. For this emergency period, the online booking fee of Euro 4 will not apply.
There are also variations to the opening hours, and the usual free entry to the museums on the last Sunday of the month has been suspended.
New bus tour
Apart from the visit to the Vatican Museums, there is a new open-bus ecological and panoramic tour of the Vatican Gardens. It provides an exclusive and direct access to the green heart of the Vatican City State.
Bookings for this tour are only possible online from the website www.museivaticani.va, which provides all the details of the trip.
Along with the Vatican Museums, the Pontifical Villas of Castel Gandolfo are also reopening to the public.
The visits to the summer residence of the Holy Father and its gardens have been limited to Saturdays and Sundays only, from 10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m., with the last entry at 5.00 p.m.
The first available visit for the Pontifical Villas is scheduled for Saturday, 6 June 2020.
Here too all visitors will be subject to temperature checks, and a facemask is obligatory.
The Train of the Pontifical Villas, which took visitors from the Vatican railway station to Castel Gandolfo, has also been temporarily suspended.
On March 1, the Holy See Press Office announced the precautionary closure of the Vatican Museums and other Vatican tours and visits in coordination with the measures of the Italian authorities to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the first of the Vatican’s 10 COVID-19 cases was announced on March 6.
On March 9, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte imposed a nationwide lockdown, restricting the movement of people except for necessity, work, and health need. The Vatican has been complying with Italian norms.