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Instagram photographs reveal what the Vatican looks like with no one in it

Erica Firpo at the Empty Vatican event, where Instagrammers were allowed in to take pictures

Any seasoned traveller is familiar with the age-old problem – you want the perfect shot of that castle, corridor, painting, but there’s people in the way.

Then, just when you have everything perfectly framed, someone steps into your shot.

Unless you are one of the lucky Instagrammers chosen by the Vatican that is.

The social media enthusiasts were invited by the Vatican to a special evening where they were allowed to take photographs inside its corridors while it was completely empty.

The group, chosen by organisers due to their loyal following, were asked to take stunning pictures and share them using the hashtag #emptyvatican.

The results are a range of images showcasing the inside of the Vatican in a way most of us have not seen before.

Photography is forbidden in the Sistine Chapel and officials sternly tell off anyone who breaks the rule.

The chapel’s photography rights were sold to a Japanese company in exchange for funding needed to restore the frescoes.

The #emptyvatican experience was inspired by #empty, a scheme where photographers are given access to famous museums and historical sites after-hours.

Organisers, travel journalist Erica Firpo and archaeologist Darius Arya, who have been holding ’empty’ events in Italian museums for the past year, got in touch with the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museum asking to share a ‘less busy’ Vatican with the public.

The criteria for those chosen to take part was simple, they “had to be art lovers, interested in photography, and also really in love with Instagram,” Erica told the Herald.

“Our bottom line criteria is a kind unconditional love for Rome, Italy and its cultural heritage. That is what is the most important to us,” she added.

Here are a selection of the stunning photos taken.

David Pinto

Save Rome

Erica Firpo



To see more photos search emptyvatican.