Strange solitude for Capitoline Wolf: Rome reopens museums without tourists

Rome, May 19 (efe-epa).- The sculpture of the Capitoline She-wolf, the symbol of Rome, stands alone in an empty gallery after more than two months of closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Only a few people walked through the Capitoline Museums when they reopened on Tuesday in a new normal brought about by a lack of tourists.

Less than three months ago the galleries were crowded but now the only sound visitors hear is the echo of their own footsteps.

By midmorning a lone man peruses the collection: ??ancient busts, robed figures and enormous equestrian sculptures of the men and women whose lives contributed to the history of the city.

Resident Alessandro Pollaci says: “It is an unrepeatable occasion or at least I hope so.”

Italy was one of the worst-affected nations in the world with more than 225,000 confirmed infections and 32,000 deaths from the virus.

The Capitoline Museums closed on 9 March along with the rest of Italy’s cultural sites after the government put the country into lockdown to help contain the spread of Covid-19.

The institution, which last closed its doors during World War Two, has reopened under strict health measures to avoid crowds and the risk of infection.

Maria Vittoria Marini Clarelli, superintendent of museums, explains that visits are regulated with tickets reserved online to avoid going to the box office and a limit on the number of people who can be in any room at one time.

All visitors have their temperature taken at the entrance of the building and anyone with a reading above 37.5C denied entry.

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