Florence to open Renaissance artist Michelangelo’s ‘secret room’ for visitors


Artist Michelangelo’s sculpture known as Vatican Pieta is displayed at Opera del Duomo Museum next to its other versions in Florence, Italy, February 23, 2022. Picture taken February 23, 2022.—Reuters 

A former coal cellar with historical ties to the renowned Renaissance artist Michelangelo will be opened to the public starting November 15, as announced by a museum in Florence.

The “secret room” of Michelangelo is nestled within the Museum of the Medici Chapels and is believed to have served as a hideout for the artist in 1530 when he needed to evade the wrath of Pope Clement VII.

This intimate space, measuring 10 meters in length, three meters in width, and 2.5 meters at its highest point on the vaulted ceiling, was originally a coal storage area before its rediscovery during renovations in 1975. 

Paolo Dal Poggetto, then-director of the Museum of the Medici Chapels, attributed numerous charcoal sketches of human figures on the room’s walls to Michelangelo. However, there have been debates and challenges to this attribution over time.

Visitors will experience the room in small, guided groups of four people, with each group allowed a maximum of 15 minutes within the space. The entrance fee to the main museum is 10 euros, with an additional 20 euros per person for access to the “secret room.” 

Due to the requirement for alternating periods of LED lighting with extended periods of darkness to protect the delicate drawings, only 100 visitors will be admitted weekly. Access to the room is through a narrow and confined stairwell.

The “secret room” promises an intriguing glimpse into the life and artistry of one of history’s most celebrated artists, providing an opportunity to explore the space where Michelangelo sought refuge during a turbulent time in his life.


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