World Reviewer rating

Must go!
Rating 3.7 (152 votes)

Sistine Chapel

Listed under Churches & Abbeys in Rome, Italy.

  • Photo of Sistine Chapel
  • Photo of Sistine Chapel
  • Photo of Sistine Chapel
  • Photo of Sistine Chapel
  • Photo of Sistine Chapel
  • Photo of Sistine Chapel
Photo of Sistine Chapel
Photo by flickr user bengal*foam
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This famously and meticulously decorated chapel is best known for its Michelangelos and for being the site of the Papal conclaves where decisions about papal succession are made.

Outside it’s a plain rectangular brick building without any of the flounces and adornments you might expect of such an important building of the church - who generally err on the side of grandeur, but inside it is divided into divinely ornate sections for painting dramatic gold gleaming murals upon. The chapel has three main levels, akin to a brimming art galley, ground level is mostly hanging frescos loving the gold and silver, the middle level has two complimentary sets of paintings depicting ‘The Life of Christ’ and ‘The Life of Moses’ and the top level has the papal portrait gallery and a section for the ancestors of Christ, which is an extension of Michelangelo’s famous ceiling. Like Mona at the Louve, there is more to the roof than the famous ‘Last Judgement‘, ‘Twelve Apostles’ and ’God Creates Adam’ . Divided into nine sections the roof depicts God’s Creation of the World, God’s Relationship with Mankind and Mankind’s Fall from Grace. Raphael was commissioned for the tapestries, and Boticelli, Ghirlandio and Perugino and their workshops also contributed to this truly astounding achievement in art.

Yes, you’ll have to queue, but this is one of the greatest displays of the genius of human endeavour and Michelangelo alone took about five years to complete his contribution to this amazing scene so I think you’ll cope with a bit of waiting.

Written by  romantic poet.

Other expert and press reviews

“A more intimate look at Vatican art & the Sistine Chapel”

The Sistine Chapel, the prize at the end of all the shuffling and swearing through the other galleries full of the frescoes telling the prescribed stories that were the Vatican's equivalent of a media system, its own glorious version of spin. Read more...

Written by press. L.A. Times 3 May 2007

“the Luxe guide to Rome”

Mikey’s iconic masterpiece is almost always swarming with people with cricks in their necks. However, depending on how flush you’re feeling, it is difficult, but sometimes possible, to book a private visit. Read more...

Written by press. Times Online 6 May 2007

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

I have been there once and i must say that this chapel is simply amazing.

How can lbook mass forme and my family?

2 Replies

Not sure if you can. It's easy enough to attend a mass inside St. Peter's Basilica, and on Wednesdays you can book ahead and participate in a papal audience at 10:00 a.m.

I think the only way to see the Sistine Chapel is with a museum ticket.

How to avoid crowds

I've heard there is a way for groups to get in here before the official opening time.

Awe inspiring

This must be one of the most beautiful sites in Europe. I took the opportunity to propose to my now wife on the floor under the magnificent ceiling - it did the job and always brings back fond memories. Do bear in mind that it's next to the library and there are hired 'shhhh-ers'

2 Replies

Well done! Also agreed about the men yelling SILENCIO! every 5 seconds in the Sistine Chapel

How did the proposal go with the ushers?

Vatican Museums/Sistine Chapel

The Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel are on everyone's essential sightseeing list for Rome, but that can be the reason a visit can be an unpleasant experience. Here there are sections of archeological finds, ancient Egyptian artifacts, and ancient tapestries and maps. Many Popes contributed money from their coffers to building these collections.

The Sistine Chapel, with its famous ceiling painted by Michelangelo, is the Pope's private chapel in the Vatican City and the focus point for tourists and groups, some of whom may be seeking a spiritual journey but most of whom are on a 'been there, done that' mission – so this gets stiflingly crowded. Go off season or late in the day when the tour groups have left, otherwise you can easily queue for two hours even before you get to the crush.

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