Vatican closes Sistine Chapel for papal meet

The Vatican has announced it was closing the Sistine Chapel to visitors until further notice, ahead of a conclave to elect Pope Benedict’s successor.

In a message on its website, the Vatican Museums said it would still be possible to visit the complex but the Sistine Chapel, the Borgia Apartment and the modern religious art collection would be off-limits to tourists. The Sistine Chapel is renowned for Michelangelo’s famous frescoed ceilings and his Last Judgment.

In 2005, the last time the College of Cardinals elected a pope, preparations for the conclave included installing a false floor to hide anti-bugging devices and attaching the stove, where the ballots are burned, to the Sistine Chapel’s chimney.

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