VATICAN CITY — Some 1,600 people reserved tickets in advance to see the Sistine Chapel on the first day the Vatican Museums opened to the public after a three-month coronavirus shutdown.
Museum employees measured the temperature of visitors at the entrance, and everyone was required to wear masks throughout their visits.
Museum director Barbara Jatta said Monday was a day of “great joy” and a return to a semblance of normalcy after so many weeks of fear in the onetime epicenter of the European virus outbreak.
She said it was “a very pleasant surprise” so many reserved tickets to visit. During peak summer months, the Vatican Museums routinely would have an hours-long line of tourists waiting to enter since the Vatican didn’t have an advance reservation system to schedule visit times.
Jatta said museum staff used the weeks of closure to ensure the safety of visitors as well as the art. She said: “We want to share this patrimony but we want to share in safety.”