Vatican City (Fides Service) – To harness the enormous potential offered by information technology today to make more widely known one of the world’s most prestigious art patrimonies the Vatican Museums has opened its own web page at www.vatican.va. Presenting the undertaking on June 24 at the Vatican press office Cardinal Casimir Szoka, President of the Governatorato of Vatican City State said: “For a long time the Church has given increasing attention to the means of social communications in order to carry out her universal mission with more efficiency. The internet with its enormous potential makes it possible to approach an increasing number of people and to spread the message of evangelisation all over the world. Of particular importance in this context is the role of culture and art, a universal language, which can unite people of different culture, language ad religions, and be a major means of interior enrichment and reciprocal communication”.
The web page was illustrated by Dr Francesco Buranelli, director of the Museums, who said the aim of the initiative is to “present and make known our collections to tourists, facilitating a more conscious visit to the museums, offer scholars information for research, make known among a broader public so many masterpieces, their history, their importance”. At this first stage texts on 215 articles have been prepared, with 120 high resolution images and 95 average resolution images. Explanations are available in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. Also available on the page: History of the Vatican Museums, Sections, Special events, Opening Hours, admission fees and closed dates, Transportation, Visitor services, Catalogue of publications, Patrons, Credits, Copyright. “The selection of items to present – Dr Buranelli explained - was guided by a criteria to give priority to those which are most attractive for the pubic, the Sistine Chapel, the Raffaello Rooms and the art gallery, as well as sections recently renovated or enriched such as the Gregorian Egyptian Museum and the Gregorian Etruscan Museum. Also possible from the web page, a virtual visit to the Ethnological Missionary Museum, at present closed to the public due to restoration work.” SL (Fides Service 25/6/2003 EM lines 28 Words: 394)