“Everyone’s boat”: these are the words with which Pope Francis blessed the precious artefact received as a gift last 15 March from the historic Aponte family of ship-builders.
Produced by hand by the Aprea, shipwrights from the Sorrento peninsula, in collaboration with the International Diplomatic Institute, the boat is a faithful reproduction of the ancient and original Navicella di Pietro (Barque of Peter), now conserved in the Yigal Allon museum in Ginosar, Galilee, after its discovery (1986) at the bottom of Lake Tiberias.
From 17 September, the imposing 9 x 2 metre-long sailboat has found its final scenographic location in the “House for All”, or rather the Vatican Museums, using an expression dear to Francis. Complex handling and installation operations were carried out on Sunday, behind closed doors, thanks to sophisticated acrobatic construction work and the support of specialized companies, with the joint contribution of personnel from the Directorate of the Museums and Cultural Heritage and from the Infrastructure and Services Directorate (Governorate of Vatican City State).
Laid at the base of the modern helicoidal ramp also known as the "The Way of the Sea" - a permanent exhibition route with models of boats from all over the world - "Peter's Boat" will welcome, with its strong symbolic and spiritual power, all pilgrims and tourists departing for their evocative "journey" among the beauties of the Pope's Museums.