Michelangelo's secret room is now open to the public in Florence—the cradle of the Italian Renaissance. The walls are covered with his charcoal sketches, such as this one of the face of the Greek figure Laocoon.
The room was discovered by chance. The former director of the Museum of Bargello, Paolo dal Poggetto, asked a restorer to carry out cleaning tests in the corridor under the New Medici Chapel. The room had been used to store coal until 1955 and then remained sealed and forgotten for decades.
While cleaning, the restorer discovered sketches that were under two layers of plaster. After studying the works, the director concluded that the room had been Michelangelo's refuge in 1530—around 15 years after finishing his work on the Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo used the room to hide from Pope Clement VII, who was angry with the artist because of his support of the new republican government.
The secret room is about 30 feet long by 10 feet wide. Only small groups of 4 people are allowed to visit the room.