Vatican unveils night-time museum openings


June 18, 2010 Updated Aug 18, 2009 at 2:11 PM EDT

The Vatican Museums, whose treasures include Michelangelo's prized frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, will stay open late on Fridays in September and October, arts chiefs said on Tuesday.

The collections will be on view from 7:00 to 11:00 pm by reservation only at the Vatican website, http://mv.vatican.va.

Since the circuit through the vast collections takes at least an hour to complete, visitors will not be allowed in after 9:30 pm.

Following the lead of the Louvre museum in Paris and the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Vatican Museums director Antonio Paolucci said the late-night opening would "offer citizens a chance to... benefit from an unusual atmosphere and a special light."

"It's also a way to persuade people to give up television for an evening," he added.

The Vatican Museums attract more than four million visitors each year.

Open from Monday to Saturday, they usually close at 6:00 pm, with last admissions at 4:00 pm.

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