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Rome mayor announces underground entrance for Vatican Museums


A projected new entrance to the Vatican Museums will feature a giant glass pyramid and underground shops and restaurants.

Catholic News Service reports that the subterranean entrance will stretch several blocks, in an effort to accommodate the long lines of visitors and protect them from the elements.

"We will no longer see those interminable lines of people who have to stand waiting for hours, no matter what the weather," Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni told a press conference.

The new entrance, built primarily on Italian territory, would connect at the Vatican walls with the existing museum entrance, which was enlarged a few years ago. Veltroni said city planners were already working with Vatican officials to coordinate the architectural arrangement.

Veltroni said the above-ground pyramid at the entrance site would help illuminate the underground complex and would evoke the famous pyramid at the entrance of the Louvre in Paris.

The new entrance will open at Piazza Risorgimento, where a new subway stop is envisioned. The underground facilities will include information areas and bookshops for tourists, as well as "archaeological windows" featuring ancient artifacts.

Veltroni said an international competition would probably be held to decide the architectural design. He said the project could be completed within four years.

Record crowds have flocked to the Vatican Museums in recent years, and during peak seasons visitors have sometimes waited an hour in the outdoor line.


SOURCE
Rome mayor says new underground entrance planned for Vatican Museums (Catholic News Service 4/4/06)

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5 Apr 2006