The Vatican Museums reopening coincides with Italy’s gradual easing of the nearly 3-month lockdown, which allows many businesses and activities to restart.
The reopening of the Pontifical Villas of Castel Gandolfo and a new open-bus tour have also been announced.
Health and art:
Due to the current health emergency situation, the Vatican Museums are ensuring a very careful balance between safety and health needs and the dynamics of a museum visit, without compromising the essence of such a visit.
Hence, in keeping with the norms of hygiene and physical distance, visitors to the Museums will be subject to a body temperature check and will be allowed in only with a facemask.
A medical and health team from Italy’s Misericordie volunteer group and the Vatican’s Health and Hygiene Department will ensure every need during the opening hours.
Other important requirements for the reopening of the museums will be revised from time to time as the current emergency situation evolves.
In order to restrict the number of entries, the Vatican Museums have limited ticket sales to only online booking from the official website http://www.museivaticani.va.
For this emergency period, the online booking fee of €4 will not apply.
There are also variations to the opening hours:
– Monday to Thursday: the Pontifical Collections will remain open from 10.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m., with the last entry at 6.00 p.m. (exit from the museum sectors starts at 7.30 p.m.)
– Friday and Saturday: from 10.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m., with the last entry at 8.00 p.m. (exit from the museum sectors at 9.30 p.m.).
Museums visits on Friday and Saturday are accompanied by the possibility to take part in an aperitif in the Pine Cone Courtyard to enjoy the sunset.
The usual free entry to the museums on the last Sunday of the month has been suspended.
Sitting on Rome‘s Spanish Steps ( Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti) is no longer allowed as the local police is imperative to apply the rules in a more stringent way, sources said to ANSA news agency. The famous steps are also considered to be a monument, meaning sitting or lying on them is banned.
The film Roman Holiday(1953), starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck made the Spanish Steps famous to world audience.
Those who breach the ban risk a fine of €250 , which can go up to €400 if the steps are dirtied or damaged.
The stairway was designed by architects Francesco de Sanctis and Alessandro Specchi, commissioned by French diplomat Étienne Gueffier (1723–1725).
Italian Premie Minister Giuseppe Conte has condemned the blindfolding of one of the two Americans students arrested in relation to the killing of a Carabiniere police officer in Rome last week.
A photo emerged on social media at the weekend showing one of the suspects, 18-year-old Gabriel Christian Natale-Hjorth, blindfolded and his hands handcuffed behind his back in a Carabiniere station.
“Italy is a State of the rule of law,” Conte wrote on Facebook. “We have principles and consolidated values” Conte wrote. “We must avoid being swept along by the wave of emotional reactions, while also taking into account that our legislation provides for life sentences for murder without any reduction in the term to be served”.
“This is in part the merit of stricter laws introduced by this government.” The Prime minister added that “now we must instead make sure that those with responsabilité act in such a way that these regulations be applied in a rigorous manner”.
Police say that they have confessed. An autopsy showed Cerciello Rega bled to death after being stabbed 11 times.
Elder allegedly stabbed the policeman while Natale-Hjorth punched his partner.
A massive manhunt has been announced for two men presumably from North Africa after an on-duty Carabiniere policeman was stabbed to death in Rome at night from 25 to 26 July.
The Carabiniere Deputy Brigadier Mario Cerciello Rega (35) was stabbed while conducting an arrest of two men suspected in theft when one of the men pulled out a knife and stabbed him several times. Both culprits escaped.
“I am sure they will be captured and he will pay for his violence to the end: forced labor in prison until he lives”, Interior minister Matteo Salvini said, commenting on the killing of the policeman in Rome.
Cerciello Rega was promptly taken to hospital by his colleagues, but died of the injuries sustained in the attack: among eight blows one was lethal, hitting the heart.
Cerciello Rega was appreciated by his colleagues and friends, he also carried out volunteer work in addition to his regular job.
Around hundred friends and relatives from his native region, Campania, traveled to Rome to pay tributes.
Cerciello Rega leaves behind a widow, whom he married just 43 days ago.
Presumed assassin of the policeman a Moroccan citizen Mohammed SAID (44).
AMENDED: Two American citizen arrested in while conducting the investigation.
The first large villa constructed for Emperor Nero (37 – 68 AD) on the Palatine Hill in Rome is opening its doors to public. ‘Domus Transitoria‘ (Transitory House) was opulent and refined, erected with the grandeur inspired by the Ptolemaic palaces.
The villa was closed down and buried at the emperor’s order after the great fire of Rome in 64 AD and replaced with the larger and more sumptuous Domus Aurea (Golden House).
After a decade long restoration, the villa’s 800 square meters will open to the public as part of a new guided tour on Nero daily from Monday to Friday.
The tour is reserved to small groups of visitors who will be able to admire the colored marbles, fountains and red porphyry columns thanks to the new lighting and 3D visors.
The villa is dedicated to water, one of the reasons why it has been confused for a long time with the thermal baths of Livia, archaeologists say.
Columns and niches decorate this opulent space.
Archaeologists explain that Emperor Nero enjoyed to spend the hottest hours of summer days in this room, under a large patio, which was probably covered with a wooden decorated ceiling or perhaps only protected by opulent curtains.
In 59 AD, the Emperor Nero was determined to have his mother assassinated. Historian Suetonius claims Nero tried to poison her 3 times. After a number of failures, he finally plotted a sinking of her boat, the accident she did not survive.
Emperor Nero made public appearances as an actor, poet, musician and charioteer. In the eyes of many of his contemporaries this undermined the dignity and authority of his person, status, and office. Nero’s extravagant program of public and private works was funded by a significant rise in taxes that was much resented by the middle and upper classes.
President Emmanuel Macron’s government recalled France ambassador to Rome Christian Masset on February 7 in an unprecedented act since World War II , saying it had enough with “repeated, baseless” attacks by Italian political leaders against France.
The decision came after a meeting between Italy’s deputy prime minister and leaders of the French Yellow Vest movement who have been calling for President Macron’s resignation.
Luigi di Maio, Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement welcomed the “winds of change across the Alps” yesterday on Twitter after meeting with Yellow Vest activists Cristophe Chalencon and Ingrid Levavasseur.
The vise-president of the European Parliament Fabio Castaldo has also taken part in the meeting. (Pictured below: first from right).
In a statement on the decision, France’s foreign ministry blamed Italian officials of making “outrageous statements” and “repeated, baseless attacks” for months.
The statement said the attacks were without precedent since World War II. “Having disagreements is one thing, but manipulating the relationship for electoral aims is another,” it said.
“All of these actions are creating a serious situation which is raising questions about the Italian government’s intentions towards France,” diplomats added, making clear that Paris is increasingly worried by Di Maio and Salvini’s vocal support for the anti-establishments protest movement.
Ambassador Christian Masset (pictured above) arrived to Rome on 6 of December 2017. As a carreer diplomat he previously served as an Ambassador to Japan, and held other prominent positions in Foreign Affairs Ministry working in Brussels, London, and Pretoria.
North Korea’s top diplomat in Italy has applied for asylum and gone into hiding, Seoul lawmakers told reporters after a closed-door meeting with South Korean intelligence officials.
It would mark the latest high-profile defection by a senior North Korean envoy since the deputy ambassador in London in 2016.
“Acting ambassador Jo Song Gil’s term was ending in late November last year and he escaped the diplomatic compound in early November” with his wife, lawmaker Kim Min-ki told reporters.
Jo Song-gil (48), has been acting ambassador in Rome since October 2017 after Italy expelled the then ambassador Mun Jong Nam in protest at a North Korean nuclear test a month earlier in violation of UN resolutions.
Italy is an important diplomatic mission for Pyongyang, as it handles relations with the Rome-headquartered UN Food and Agriculture Organization and North Korea suffers from chronic food shortages.
A North Korean diplomat in Italy said to be seeking asylum is from a “prestigious diplomatic family” with both his father and father-in-law having worked in Pyongyang‘s foreign ministry, Agency France press reports.