A Secret Room in a 16th-Century Italian Chapel, Where Michelangelo Hid—and Drew—for Months, Opens to the Public
Michelangelo is believed to have made the rarely seen drawings while in hiding after the pope sentenced him to death.

Guidebooks to the Italian city of Florence have long noted that the Basilica of San Lorenzo is home to a secret room believed to have been decorated by Michelangelo while the famed Renaissance master was in hiding from the pope for two months in 1530. Now, the chamber, which is part of the the Museum of the Medici Chapels (itself one of the fives sites of the city’s Bargello Museums), will be open to the public for the first time.

“The completion of the works on the new exit and the adaptations to align… with safety regulations, will allow the opening of Michelangelo’s Secret Room—an extraordinarily fascinating place, but extremely delicate due to… the narrow space… and… the need to protect the charcoal drawings found on the walls,” Massimo Osanna, director general of museums in Italy, said in a statement.

The stunning drawings of the Stanza Segreta, or Secret Room, were rediscovered in 1975. That’s when Paolo Dal Poggetto, then director of the Museum of the Medici Chapels, tasked restorer Sabino Giovannoni with trying to clean part of the walls of a narrow chamber beneath the church’s mausoleum, which had been designed by Michelangelo in 1520.

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