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Caravaggio Painting To Be Restored In Public

Caravaggio's "Adoration of the Shepherds," a 1609 masterpiece, is getting a very public restoration in Italy's lower chamber of parliament.

Starting next week, small groups of tourists, students and art aficionados will be allowed to watch restorers touch up the painting in its temporary parliamentary home.

The restoration is expected to be completed in time for the 400th anniversary of Caravaggio's death in February 2010, when it will be exhibited in the gallery of the Quirinale presidential palace.

Restorer Valeria Merlini said Wednesday the aim of the tours is to get the public more involved in a work of art.

The work, completed during Caravaggio's brief stay in Messina, Sicily, was transferred to Rome last month from Messina's museum.