- Associated Press - Thursday, March 15, 2012

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Restoration is slowly but steadily proceeding on a Vatican project so ambitious it has been likened to the decades-long cleaning up of the frescoes in the Sistine Chapel.

Guy Devreux, who directs the Vatican’s workshop for marble and limestone structures, says cleaning the Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s statue-topped colonnade that cradles St. Peter’s Square should take far less time.

He says the work to clean the columns, which began in 2009 _ and ensure fragments don’t fall on visitors below is expected to last three more years. Devreux says they will also clean square’s two fountains and Egyptian obelisk.

Devreux says the work is arranged so the square is always accessible to the crowds of visitors who flock year-round and especially as Easter approaches.