Vatican Museums to reopen on Monday as Italy eases virus restrictions

The Vatican Museums, including the Sistine Chapel, said they will reopen on Monday 1st February after being closed for 88 days due to coronavirus restrictions - the longest closure since World War II, AFP reported.

The world-famous collections will open their doors to the public from Monday to Saturday, but visitors must pre-book tickets and will be given timed entry slots.

Curators used the closure, sparked by Italian government measures introduced to stem the spread of Covid-19, to carry out maintenance and refurbishment works. That included careful dusting of 15th-century frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, which normally attracts six million visitors a year.

"The Pope's Museums await you with pleasure!" a statement said.

The news comes amid an easing of coronavirus restrictions in Italy , with all but five regions put in the low-risk "yellow" category from Monday. That allows bars and restaurants to reopen during the day, alongside museums.

Rome's Colosseum and the Forum were also set to reopen on Monday, although they are to remain closed on weekends.

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