Passersby and art lovers alike can watch restoration in action as a 1609 masterwork by Italian painter Caravaggio is treated in Italy's lower chamber of parliament. Restorers have set up a temporary laboratory at street level to touch up Caravaggio's Adoration of the Shepherds in the Chamber of Deputies, on via Parlamento 19, in Rome.
On October 7, the work site was also opened for indoor guided visits on Wednesdays and Fridays from 3pm to 5pm. Reservations are required and can be made at www.fastweb.it (click on the box at the right-hand side that reads ‘Caravaggio Restauro Aperto').
When the work is completed, in January 2010, the painting will be temporarily showcased in the gallery of the Quirinale presidential palace to mark the 400th anniversary of Caravaggio's death.
After that, it returns to its permanent home at the Regional Museum of Messina. The painting was commissioned to adorn the central altarpiece of the Cappuccini Church in Messina, during Caravaggio's sojourn in Sicily in the early 1600s.