News & Opinion | July 9, 2018 9:00 am

This Is the Man Who Holds The Keys to the Vatican

"The real privilege is being able, every day, to walk through this and each day learn something new."

vatican
(Getty Images)
Getty Images

Gianni Crea has been the head key keeper of the Vatican Museums for six years. Every morning for over 2,000 days, Crea has had the honor of opening the doors to history.

“Yes, I’m a key keeper, head key keeper, but I’m still a doorman that opens a museum,” said Crea, a devout Catholic, to National Geographic. “But I open the doors to the history of art and the history of Christianity—and it’s the biggest and most beautiful history that exists in the world.”

Crea has worked in the Vatican for 20 years and currently has a team of 10 who open and close 300 doors every day. They walk a 4.6-mile route through the museums which host up to 28,000 visitors per day. The Vatican Museums house, protect and restore tens of thousands of priceless works that span across centuries. Crea believes that art has the power to unite people together because it is an expression of our shared human condition.

“Everyone can find something beautiful, something moving,” he says. “The Vatican Museums, in my opinion, should be visited because they give you an understanding of art and history, regardless of your faith.”