It is impressive to see the Sistine Chapel being transformed into a hub of activity under the penetrating gaze of the Last Judgement depicted by Michelangelo. Since yesterday afternoon, Tuesday, 5 March, the Sistine Chapel has in fact been closed to the public to permit the necessary work to be done for the Conclave.
Among the workmen climbing up and down the scaffolding, restorers touching up the lateral walls until only a few hours ago protected by transparent panels, mountains of pipes, hundreds of spare light bulbs have made their timid appearance and the two cast iron stoves – one made in 1938, the other in 2005 – have been the focus of media hype in the past few days. In one of these stoves the ballots will be burned, and in the other, by means of an electric switch, the black or white smoke will be created to signal the results of the voting until the successful election.
The various workmen who make up the complex technical machine of the Vatican State, from the workshops of the technical electricians to those of the builders, to the plumbing sector, the mechanics and carpenters and Vatican Museum technicians are all involved in the preparations.
The Floreria that deals with the furnishing and decorating, has a special task: even when the Conclave begins it will have to guarantee the continuity of the services.