The head of the Vatican Museums, Antonio Paolucci, has said that the Vatican may have to reduce the number of visitors to the Sistine Chapel.
Paolucci announced that the Vatican is installing new air-conditioning and air-purification systems in an effort to curb the humidity, dust and carbon dioxide that are damaging Michelangelo’s fresco. The systems will be operational by the end of 2014.
However, if the systems fail to curb damage to Michelangelo’s masterpiece, Paolucci said the Vatican would be forced to impose limits on the number of visitors to the Sistine Chapel. Some five million people visit the chapel annually and, in high season, as many as 20,000 a day. The presence of such a large number of people increases the amount of dirt and humidity in the chapel significantly, causing damage to the famous fresco.