Sistine Chapel visitors to be limited to 6 million per year

In order to protect its precious frescoes, the Vatican has announced that it will restrict visitors to the Sistine Chapel to 6 million each year. Experts say that dust, sweat and carbon dioxide from up to 20,000 tourists a day pose a major threat to Michelangelo’s masterpiece. (photos)

“I am convinced that the Vatican Museums, in particular the Sistine Chapel, have reached the maximum number of visitors possible,” Antonio Paolucci, head of the Vatican Museums, said at a news conference to introduce the new lighting and climate control systems. Paolucci said the current number of 6 million visitors a year would be the maximum tolerated. “We did not do all this in order to allow more people into the Sistine Chapel.”