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No plan to limit Sistine visitors

Part of the artwork of Michelangelo that adorns

Part of the artwork of Michelangelo that adorns the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican, Italy. Credit: Fotopress/Getty Images

ROME, ITALY: The Vatican is determined to avoid limiting the number of visitors to the Sistine Chapel with its Michelangelo frescoes, despite harmful buildup of dust and other pollutants, the director of the Vatican Museums said recently.

"We will try to keep it open" without putting a limit on the growing number of visitors to the chapel, "in the conviction that it is possible to do so without risk to the paintings," Antonio Paolucci wrote in the Holy See's daily newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano.

Nearly 4 million people visit the museums each year, and ticket sales are a big moneymaker for the Vatican.

Dust, sweat, humidity and carbon dioxide exhaled by visitors who jam into the chapel to crane their neck to look at the frescoed ceiling can build to unwanted levels.

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