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Tuesday, June 24, 2003


VATICAN CITY, JUN 24, 2003 (VIS) - Today at noon in the Holy See Press Office the Internet site of the Vatican Museums was presented during a press conference, presided over by Cardinal Edmund Szoka, president of the Governorate of Vatican City State, under whose auspices the museums fall.

Also present were Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, secretary of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, which oversees the Vatican's Internet Office, and Francesco Buranelli, director of the Vatican Museums. The Museum site is accessed through: www.vatican.va

Cardinal Szoka noted that the new Internet site of the Vatican Museums "further enriches the Holy See web site, created years ago and in continual and progressive expansion. For some time, the Church has paid great attention to the means of social communication, in order to more efficaciously perform her universal mission. The Internet, with its enormous potential, allows us to approach an ever greater number of people and to spread throughout the world our message of evangelization."

The universal language of culture and art, he added, "allows for contact with persons of different cultures, languages and religions." The Internet site will make the collections of the Vatican Museums available to tourists, collectors, scholars amd the general public, permitting everyone to "become acquainted with many masterpieces, their history and their meaning."

Cardinal Szoka noted that, when Pope John Paul inaugurated the new entrance to the Vatican Museums on February 7, 2000, he called the Museums "one of the most meaningful doors that the Holy See opens to the world," through which is expressed "the renewed will of the Church to dialogue with mankind through art and culture, making available to everyone the patrimony entrusted to her by history."

Nicola Aliperti, a representative of Hewlitt Packard Italy, remarked that "in the future the patrimony presented in the Vatican Museums, which UNESCO defined as 'the patrimony of mankind', will be accessible through the wireless means of palm pilots." This patrimony will thus be available not only through personal computers but also through pocket PCs and the latest generation cell phones.

Archbishop Celli, secretary of APSA and head of the web site, said that the Internet Office is responsible for the entire implementation and "hardening" of the web site and its security.

Francesco Buranelli, director of the Museums of the Vatican City State, affirmed that the site "will allow the public to access the inestimable artistic heritage that these museums have preserved and protected for centuries."

For the realization of the site, he said, "we took advantage of the great experience and precious collaboration of the Holy See Internet Office and the technical support of Hewlett Packard S.r.l. for the servers." For the scientific content, directors of the various sectors of the administration of the Museums collaborated. "Two-hundred and fifteen complete files were written for certain works, accompanied by 120 images of high resolution and 95 images of medium resolution." In addition, he added, the site "can be easily consulted thanks to the texts that have been fully translated into Italian, French, English, Spanish and German."

After the press conference, a demonstration was conducted on how to access the web site from a desk top computer, a lap top, palm pilot and the latest-model mobile phones.

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