As a sign of gratitude for their heroic work during this pandemic, which is far from over, the Vatican has given doctors and healthcare professionals free entrance into Castel Gandolfo and the Vatican Museums.
ZENIT’s Senior Correspondent was able to be there at Castel Gandolfo, as the first group of medical professionals entered. The Holy See Press Office had welcomed a small group of journalists to be present.
The initiative, organizers told ZENIT, welcomed all doctors, nurses, and auxiliary technical and healthcare personnel, serving in Italian public and private health facilities, to access, at no cost, the Vatican Museums and the complex of the Pontifical Villas of Castel Gandolfo.
For their entry, they only had to present their professional id cards, issued by the professional orders or by healthcare companies.
Castel Gandolfo, a very popular spot for pilgrims, used to be the summer residence of numerous popes, until Pope Francis decided to stay at the Vatican during the summer months.The Museum at Castel Gandolfo was at one time the papal apartment.
This gift to doctors and healthcare workers was valid for the Vatican Museums from June 8-June 13, 2020. The complex of the Villas, on the slopes of the lake of Castel Gandolfo, reopened its doors, after the lockdown, on Saturday, June 6, and extended this free courtesy to healthcare workers for a two week period.
The Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo and the wonderful Gardens of the Villa Barberini are accessible to visitors, at least for the moment, only on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, with last entrance at 5:00 pm.
Here are images from that special day where doctors were first welcomed.
Here is the security clearance that was necessary, with explicit instructions about mask wearing, how to blow your nose or cough, and using sanitizer.
Once you enter the complex, you find yourself in its main courtyard, before taking the stairs and entering into the museum. The Museum was at one time the papal apartment.
Here, some doctors expressed their gratitude for this opportunity, to press, and even that it was their first time there.
This doctor expressed that through the sleepless nights in the hospital, as the pandemic got worse and worse, it was hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But faith, she said, helped make it through, and to be here, at this former summer residence of the popes for centuries, being appreciated for her profession, along with fellow doctors and healthcare workers, means so much to her.
Now, we went up the stairs to the museum…
Now to the world famous gardens.
And here are some images of the town of Castel Gandolfo.
All photos were taken by and should be attributed to Deborah Castellano Lubov.