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Sistine Chapel

Useful information about Sistine Chapel
Opening Hours:
Monday to Saturday : 9.00a.m. to 6.00 p.m. (Last entry is 4.00p.m.)
Easter Sunday and Monday

Why visiting the Sistine Chapel must be part of your itinerary?

If you are interested in the art and history of the Renaissance period, then the best representation of it is found at the Sistine Chapel. The Sistine Chapel holds artworks which are priceless, and many believe can never be replicated. The Sistine Chapel holds great significance for the Popes as a new Pope is selected there. The Sistine Chapel is renowned for Michelangelo’s frescos which are not only visually striking, but each character seems to be doing something which is incredible when he had painted hundreds of faces on his frescos.

History of The Sistine Chapel

The Pope’s official residence is located in the Vatican City State. The Sistine Chapel was originally known as Cappella Magna and is one of the chapels in the Apostolic Palace. Between 1473 and 1481, Pope Sixtus IV ordered for the Chapel to be restored and when the works were completed, the name was changed to Sistine Chapel. The Chapel has played a significant role in papal ceremonies Catholic Hurch related activities.
A group of Renaissance painters were called upon during the pontificate of Sixtus IV and asked to perform artworks at the Chapel to celebrate the momentous event. Today, you can see works by renowned artist such as Cosimo, Signorelli, Rosselli, Ghirlandaio, Pinturicchio, Pinturicchio, Botticelli and The Life of Moses and the Life of Jesus were two frescos which were executed by these great artists. There were also portraits made of each Pope which governed the Church. Upon the completion of the painting in 1482, Pope Sixtus IV celebrated the first mass there.
Michelangelo also plays a very important role in the Sistine Chapel. He was commissioned to decorate the vault of the chapel and the frescos on the ceilings. It took him four years to create masterpieces which to this day has the art world in awe. On the behest of Clement VII and Pope Paul III, Michelangelo painted ‘The Last Judgment’ on the wall of the altar. Hundreds of years later, his complex artwork is still talked about, reviewed and critiqued.

Sistine Chapel Today

Today, the Sistine chapel holds the conclave to elect a new Pope. Visitors still flock in the millions to see the masterpieces created by Michelangelo. To those of the Catholic faith, the Chapel holds a high religious significance too.
In the 1990’s it was decided that the Sistine Chapel required restoration. The painstaking process revealed the technical genius of the artists of the past and revealed the real colours used on some of the most famous works in history. The restoration crew realised how difficult it must have been to paint as not all areas were straight.
There are many tour options to see the Sistine Chapel with a combination of attractions.
View the list here.

Sistine Chapel and The Amazing Facts

  • Since 1879, the Pope conclave is held at the Sistine Chapel to elect a new Pope. If a white smoke billows out of the chimney which is visible from St Peter’s Square, that signifies a new Pope has been elected. If black smoke billows out, it means the Cardinals are still deliberating on who becomes Pope.
  • The elected pope is led to the “Tears Room” located under the “The Last Judgement”. The room is name such as many Popes of the past have burst into tears of joy as they have been announced the head of the Catholic Church.
  • Michaelangelo changed the way how God looked in the Sistine Chapel. With a long white beard and a muscular body, it looked uncannily similar to Jupiter – the Greek god.
  • The ‘Creation of Adam’ is an image from the Genesis story of where Adam is given life by God.
  • Michelangelo did not have a smooth time initially as he was convinced he was set up for failure. He was not too familiar with fresco painting at that time, but went on to be one of the most remembered and celebrated artists ever.

Getting to the Sistine Chapel

Located inside the Vatican Museums, you will need to purchase a ticket to enter the Vatican Museums which also includes the ticket price for the Sistine Chapel. If you prefer to book a tour which covers St Peter’s Basilica too, you can select from the following tours here.Stefano

If you prefer to see a few additional extras, which are not available on normal tours such as a visit to the Bramante Staircase, Cabinet of Masks (in the Vatican Museums) and Niccolina Chapel, get in touch for us to arrange that.

Attractions around the Sistine Chapel

  • St Peters’ Basilica
  • St Peter’s Square
  • Castel Gandolfo
  • Combine tours to also see the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill

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