You Won't Believe What Everyday Liquid Is Used to Paint the Holiest Building in the World

© Nacho Arteaga / Unsplash
© Nacho Arteaga / Unsplash
Photo of India Irving
Social Media Editor20 December 2017

When this holy building gets a paint job, it’s something you probably have in your own refrigerator that comes to the rescue.

That’s right, when the Vatican is in need of a bit of a facelift, it gets painted in…(wait for it)…milk!

© Dennis Jarvis / Flickr

The dairy-based solution is a formula that has been in use at the Pope’s residence since the 1500s, and no one is planning on changing it anytime soon. The colour has remained unaltered since the 16th century as well, being re-matched every single time the walls are repainted to achieve the closest consistency possible.

Due to Pope Francis’s passion for the environment, the milk used in the paint actually comes from the his own cows, who are raised at Castel Gandolfo outside of Rome. To achieve the formula, the milk is combined with slaked lime and natural pigments.

It is then hand-patted onto the walls in yet another centuries-old technique.

When asked the why of this non-traditional choice of paint however, the Vatican’s chief architect Vitale Zanchettin insists that nostalgia is not to blame. ‘We’re not nostalgic for the past,’ he explains. ‘The point is that we think these solutions age better. They are tried and tested.’

Well, next time you have some home improvements to do, it might be time for a trip to the grocery store instead of Home Depot!

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