Skip to comments.Vatican in Row Over 'Drunken Tourist Herds' Destroying Sistine Chapel's Majesty
Posted on 10/01/2012 6:29:51 AM PDT by marshmallow
Author Pietro Citati calls for limit on crowd numbers to preserve Michelangelo's art in Vatican City, Rome
A fierce row has broken out over the future of the Sistine Chapel, after one of Italy's most respected writers slammed it as an "unimaginable disaster" where tourists resemble "drunken herds".
Centred on the image of God reaching out to give life to Adam, the chapel ceiling is renowned as Michelangelo's masterpiece and offers a defining image of the Christian faith.
But as the crush of visitors grows year by year, this home to Michelangelo's majestic 16th-century frescoes often feels more like a packed, sweaty, and very noisy railway station.
Five million tourists surge through the chapel every year, craning their necks to get a glimpse of the scenes painted on the 130ft-long ceiling, flouting the ban on flash photography and ignoring pleas from guards to lower their voices.
In an article in Corriere della Sera, Pietro Citati, a leading literary critic and biographer, has demanded that the Vatican limit access to the chapel, claiming it would save the frescoes from damage and restore some decorum to the consecrated site.
Describing a visit, Citati claimed that "in the universal confusion, no one saw anything" and "any form of contemplation was impossible". The answer, he said, was to reduce the number of visitors drastically.
(Excerpt) Read more at guardian.co.uk ...
I was visited the Sistine Chapel two years ago. The trick is to get into the Vatican Museum first thing in the morning and head straight for the chapel, before the place gets crowded. It is virtually empty first thing in the morning. Contemplating the frescoes is a powerful, overwhelming experience and the quiet of the early morning solitude only makes it better.
I suppose the guys counting the cash flow from the drunken hurd are pushing back pretty hard.
Do they charge admission? I know church institutions have an aversion to charging admission, but they can call it a “preservation fee.” It need not be high. Generally, the Euro equivalent of $3 or so is enough to thin the herd and encourage the less enthusiastic to spend their money in the trinket shop instead.
I was there 15 years ago.
Yes, it was jam packed.
“Drunken herd” is a bit harsh. 95% were respectful of the requests for quiet and no flash photos.
And yes, it is worth the wait and the crowds.
This sounds like something Harry Reid might have said when talking about the tourists that stink up the Capitol building.
I think the title is misleading. The Vatican isn’t in a row over “drunken herds”. The critics are.
Been about 20 years for me.
Yes, while most people are respectful, many are not. did you know that men cannot enter St Peter’s Basilica if they’re wearing shorts and women from wearing any clothing that exposes their knees? Now far be it from me to ban the Australian national uniform, however, the Vatican enforces it because it still has decorum.
Part of that is the way people are nowadays. When I was a kid, people used to dress up to go out in public. If you flew on an airplane, for example, men wore suits and ties and women wore formal dresses. Nowadays? I’ve seen pajamas, tank tops, ripped clothing of all kinds—some people look like their ready for bed time, not flight time. And its the same elsewhere. People in the Walmart (www.peopelofwalmart.com) look especially bum-y.
So in this instance, yes, I can see how something as beloved and venerable, sacred almost, to certain catholics makes them feel that the tourists aren’t experiencing it to get closer to God, but rather check another item off their bucket list.
It’s 8 euro for general admission to all four museums - including the chapel tour - if you reserve ahead.
We were there two years ago. OK, Easter week. We expected crowds. The Sistine Chapel was like a train station - noisy, rowdy, not reverential in any sense of the word. It would be good to do something.
First thing in the morning is a great idea. We had a guide, which helped in the museum itself.
we were there 4 years ago in November and it was appalling the talking and photo taking despite the recording telling you in every language under the sun to do neither.
That was back in the days when airlines served actual food, had seats that weren't sized and spaced for 3rd graders, had stewardesses and a few stewards who were polite and welcoming, when you didn't have the TSA high school dropouts fingering the privates of little kids, ticket counter lines weren't hundreds of people long, ad nauseum.
All that having gone down the toilet, I'm not surprised folks don't dress "respectfully" and more. They sure aren't treated with respect.
I will say having flown a few times in the 60s, it was EXPENSIVE.
Which makes you wonder how the Obama family was doing international travel all over the place...
“The slobs in that ‘People of Walmart’ photo are gross. Oh, wait, those are people attending Mass.”
Good point when you put it that way.
Yet people could show a little self respect, even if the government doesn’t. Nobility doesn’t have to be something you’re born under, but rather something you have inside.
Too many today lack character, honesty and a sense of shame. Everyone wants to be in Jackass 4.
Are manners even taught in school? I mean aside from the importance of sharing and everyone is a winner self esteem crap?
I. Don’t. Think. So.
That's how people dress at Mass in Arizona, I kid you not.
We still dress up here. I haven’t worn shorts or blue jeans ever in church. Are these regulars or tourists?
These are the regulars. At least 65% of the men wear short pants, sandals, and shirts not tucked in. I know it’s hot out but the churches are air conditioned. I’m not just talking about the kids and the teenagers—I expect them to act like goof balls— I’m talking about grown men of all ages. They dress like they’re at a backyard BBQ.
No respect for the location and occasion, and no self-respect.
And before all you guys chime in with “God doesn’t care how we dress,” I want to know when He told you that. And don’t start with the “Maybe they can’t afford any better,” these are not poor people. They drive nice cars and those shirts they don’t tuck in are often Tommy Bahama.
They are just slobs. Maybe the pastors will eventually start to gently educate them.
That’s too bad. I agree with you.
The priest needs to mention this in his homily. Mine does, from time to time.
And what is it with tank tops and shorts? Honestly, I don’t know how they did it in earlier days. I see photos from here way back in the 1890s or 1910s, and all the men had on long pants, a long sleeve shirt, often waistcoats, boots and always hats, while all the womenfolk had on long dresses, with petticoats, full sleeve blouses and bonnets.
Our library has a whole bunch of these photos from around the area on display. Every time I look at them, I also remember these folks had no air conditioning, ice on demand, refrigerators, or even cold water to drink.
I’m miserable in the heat and humidity of the Southern Summer, but that’s what air conditioning is for. Around the house and yard, I wear tank tops and shorts, but get dressed to go to town. My teenage daughter thinks I’m old-fashioned.