Thursday, April 20, 2006

"Little Saint Peters" Keep St. Peter's Clean

From the Washington Post: Gum battle marks St Peter's 500th anniversary:

Visitor numbers have swelled further since the death of Pope John Paul II last April and thousands daily queue for hours to visit his tomb deep in the bowels of the church -- some of them dropping gum and scribbling on the marble as they wait.

An army of Vatican workers, known as "sanpietrini" (little St Peters), work full time trying to repair the damage and remove the stains left by visitors.

Marchisano said upkeep was not cheap. Although he declined to give a precise figure, he said most of the funds were met by tickets sold to those wanting to visit the giant dome or "cupola."