I'm assuming we can thank Pope Francis, though this wasn't one of his bigger announcements. But quite quiety, several months ago, the Vatican extended its hours for half the year, on Fridays only.
From May through July and again in September and October, on Fridays, the doors of the Vatican will open between 9am and 4pm and again for 7pm through 9:30pm visits. Visitors will be allowed into the Sistine Chapel, the Raphael Apartments and all of the Vatican Museums during those extended hours.
Since so few people yet know about these later hours, they offer the rare chance for visitors to see the extraordinary works of art and architecture here without the crushing crowds (often caused by cruise ship passengers, who will be back at sea by the evening).
A blessing, for sure.
Visitors gaze up at the ceiline of the Sistine Chapel (photo by Francisco Antune/Flickr)