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Vatican Accepts Payment in Blood to Access Museums

Along with Visa, Mastercard, and cash, visitors wishing to access the Vatican Museums now have the option of paying in blood.

“Without blood, there is no life. Without art, life would be empty and sad,” said Barbara Jatta, director of the Vatican Museums.

The Museums recently announced that blood donors will receive a voucher toward an entry ticket to the Vatican Museums. The new blood “payment plan,” with the slogan “Give blood and follow your artistic inclination,” is the product of a partnership between Rome’s Gemelli University Hospital and the blood donor group “Francesco Olgiati,” together with the Vatican Museums.

Yet blood donors should not think they will get into the Museums on the cheap. While an adult ticket to the Vatican Museums currently costs 16 euros, donors will receive a voucher for four euros each time they give blood. This means that donors must give blood four times if they wish to access the Museums for free.

Moreover, since a donor typically gives a pint of blood per session, it will cost blood-givers nearly two liters of blood—34 percent of the body’s total blood supply—to gaze upon the Laocoon, the Apollo Belvedere, or Michelangelo’s Last Judgment for free.

Even with the use of just one four-euro voucher, however, visitors may pay the remainder of their ticket fee without waiting in line—which is itself a huge benefit when queues can literally wrap around the block.

Gemelli University Hospital reportedly coordinates the distribution of more than 17,000 units of blood and blood components each year, which are used for treating patients with a variety of conditions.

Projects like these allow the Vatican Museums to be “a living cultural institution, an integral part of the social fabric,” Jatta said, “just as Pope Francis has hoped.”

“We hope that many will take advantage of this opportunity: it benefits both themselves and others,” Jatta said of the promotional program that lasts through December 31, 2017.

Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter

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