The Vatican was reportedly planning radical spending cuts Wednesday because the coronavirus pandemic has quashed its main source of funding — the Holy See’s fresco-rich museums.
The labyrinthine site featuring the Sistine Chapel and its famous ceiling by Michelangelo normally draws around six million visitors a year.
But the museums closed along with those across Italy on March 9 to help stem the spread of a virus that has killed more than 20,000 people in the Mediterranean country.
The Vatican itself has officially reported fewer than 10 infections and no deaths.
But the closures have been extended until May 3 because the rate of new virus infections is falling off very slowly.
Italy’s Il Fatto Quotidiano newspaper said a spending plan prepared by a top cardinal envisions the Vatican “cutting expenses and suspending promotions”.
The new budget reportedly does not call for furloughing any employees or cutting their wages.
Around 70 cardinals and 300 diplomats work at the Vatican as well as dozens of priests and nuns. The entire city-state is protected by a miniature army of Swiss guards.
Il Fatto Quotidiano said the Vatican intended to cancel conference and business outings planned for the year.
The Holy See’s finances are shrouded in secrecy and the Vatican itself did not comment on the report.