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Sistine Chapel Overview

Sistine Chapel is one of the notable attractions in Rome known for the Michelangelo artwork and the fact that the papal conclave was held here. It is a simple rectangular brick structure devoid of any of the flounces and adornments on the exteriors. However, it is divided into divinely ornate sections for the purpose of painting dramatic gold-gleaming murals in the interiors. 

Rome is known to be a land that holds timeless pieces of history, and among that one of the historical treasures is the Sistine Chapel. Known as one of the masterpieces in the world, this chapel is admired by people coming from every corner. The Sistine Chapel is the last place of the entire Vatican Museum Tour and people eagerly wait to witness this architectural gem with their eyes. The chapel's name came from the Pope Sixtus IV of the Della Rovere family who commissioned it. This chapel was built between the years 1473 and 1481 during the mandate of Pope Sixtus IV. While the outside is magnificently designed, the interior of the chapel is surrounded by some priceless and rich elements which give that perfect historical touch.

The inside of the Chapel features some of the 15th-century decoration of the walls which is decorated by false drapes, the stories of Moses and Christ, and the portraits of the Pope. Alongside that, the chapel also boasts some beautifully painted architectural features, including a cast of biblical characters depicting the stories from the book of Genesis.

Just at the entrance, there is a beautiful pavement to be admired along with a magnificent frescoed ceiling by Michelangelo. The outer side of the chapel gives an impression of a defensive structure which is guarding the masterpieces of history. The restoration of the Chapel was started during the 1990s which demonstrated the amazing technical mastery of the artist. In the present day, Sistine Chapel is treated as a seat of the conclave where the college of Cardinals chooses a new pope. Know more about this incredible architecture that made history in Rome in the best possible way.

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Highlights

• Explore the rich history of several Renaissance artifacts at the heritage Sistine Chapel.
• Get a chance to explore renowned attractions inside, including Raphael Room, Papal throne, Sala Rotunda, and more.
• Take a gaze at the high ceilings to get mesmerized by the numerous paintings by Michelangelo.
• Check out prime attractions such as The Last Judgement, The Walls, The Sistine Chapel Ceiling, and more on your visit.
• Be astonished by one of the greatest architectural marvels as you walk through the Bramante staircase.
• Admire the stunning ceiling frescoes while standing inside the revered Sistine Chapel.

How To Reach

By Car: There are many ways to reach the Sistine Chapel from the Rome Airport but the easiest and the fastest way to commute is by car. The drive from the airport to the Vatican takes around 26 minutes. Alongside that, there are other ways like trains or buses which are the cheapest way to reach the Vatican.

By Bus: The bus departs from Rome Fiumicino Airport Bus Station and arrives at the Rome Vatican. Buses depart from the station every 30 minutes and operate every day and the journey takes around 45 minutes.

By Train: There are no direct trains from Rome Airport but some of them depart from Fiumicino Aeroporto and connect at Roma S. Pietro via Roma Trastevere. The train journey takes around 50 minutes which also includes transfers mid-way.

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Best Time To Visit

The ideal time to explore the beauty of the Vatican is between May and October (except August). During this time the famous galleries in museums like the Raphael Rooms and the Sistine Chapel are open for limited number of visitors who have pre-booked.

To get the best experience of the Sistine Chapel, it is recommended to visit early in the morning or after 4 PM. During this time most of the visitors will be crowded at the Vatican Museum and on the other hand, the Chapel will be less crowded. It is best to avoid visiting the place on Wednesday mornings and Saturdays. 

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Other Essential Information

Location: 00120 Vatican City

Opening Hours: Mon-Sat (9AM-4PM), Sunday (Closed)

Entry Fee: 17 Euros (Adult), 8 Euros (Reduced), Last Sunday of the Month (Free)

Distance from Nearest Airport: 28.2 Kms (37 minutes)

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History of Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel came into limelight during the period between 1475 and 1481. The construction of the Chapel was started after the orders of Sixtus IV. Originally this was built as a private chapel where a small group of wealthy educated Christian priests gathered for discussions.

Later with the turn of events, this gathering was separated into two parts by a marble transenna which divided the clergy from the faithful. The Chapel is a living example of holding the magnificent art of Michelangelo and also many other artists who frescoed the twelve panels of the chapel. 

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Architecture of Sistine Chapel

Sistine Chapel is designed in a high rectangular shape that has no entrances. The entrance of the chapel is through the Papal Palace. The interior of the chapel is divided into three stories which include the vaulted basement. This has several windows and a doorway leading to the outer court.

The windows inside the chapel were built at a height of six-foot out of which some them are blocked over the years. Alongside that, there are some major maintenance corrections have also been done to the open gangway and the Sistine Chapel masonry has also been repaired.

Also Read: Museums in Florence

The Sistine Chapel Ceiling

The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is the main highlight which looks like a flattened barrel vault that has been cut transversely. In 1508, Michelangelo was asked to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel by Pope Julius II.

The painting included themes like: God’s creation of the world, God’s Relationship with mankind and mankind’s fall from Grace. Alongside this there are around 12 biblical figures which depicts the classical men and women painted in large pendentives. These depictions explain the prophecy of the salvation of mankind through Jesus Christ. Alongside that the paintings made on the upper windows show the ancestors of Jesus.

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Tips for Visiting Sistine Chapel

1. Dress appropriately before visiting the Sistine Chapel as it is a sacred place and clothes showing skin are not allowed inside.

2. Make sure to not carry any lunch or food as it is not allowed inside the chapel as well as the Vatican Museums.

3. Don’t click photographs inside the Sistine Chapel as it is strictly prohibited.

4. Avoid visiting the Sistine Chapel on holidays like Christmas, Santo Stefano, Easter, and SS Peter and Paul as it is very crowded at that time. 

Suggested Read: Churches in Rome

Read More
Point of Interest for Sistine Chapel
St Peter’s Basilica
1

St Peter’s Basilica

This is considered to be the centerpiece of the Vatican and one of the best places to visit when in Rome. Built in between the 16th and 18th centuries , this structure replaced the one which started building in 326. It is believed that St Peter was buried in the earlier structures.

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Vatican Museums
2

Vatican Museums

When in Rome, this is one of the main highlights which every history buff must definitely visit. Located in the Vatican City State, this is considered to be one of the most important museums in the world. These museums have a vast collection of art, archeology and ethnology created by various Pontiffs over the centuries.

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Castel Sant’Angelo
3

Castel Sant’Angelo

This is a magnificent fortress which is also called the Hadrian’s Tomb. Located by the banks of the Tiber, the fort is situated in the vicinity of Vatican City. Built-in 139, this fort became a military building after a short span of time. By the year 403, the fort was integrated as the Aurelian Walls.

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St Peter’s Square
4

St Peter’s Square

Also called the Piazza San Pietro, this is one of the most famous squares and admired for its breathtaking architecture. Designed and constructed around the 17th century, this square was an idea of Bernini which can accommodate around 3,00,000 people.

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Tourism Board Alliances

Sistine Chapel FAQs

How long did it take Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel?

It took four years for Michelangelo to paint the frescoed ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. This artist worked between the years 1508 and 1512 to finish the painting on the ceiling.

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How much does it cost to go to the Sistine Chapel?

The combined tickets for the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel is around 14 EURO (general) and 8 EURO (reduced).

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What is the Sistine chapel used for?

The Sistine Chapel is located inside the Apostolic Palace which is the official residence of the Pope.

Can you take pictures in the Sistine Chapel?

No. Taking photographs inside the Sistine Chapel is strictly prohibited.

Why is Sistine Chapel so famous?

The Sistine Chapel is one of the magnificent architectures in Rome which is particularly famous for the Renaissance frescoes by Michelangelo.

Can you see the Sistine Chapel for free?

The Sistine Chapel is a part of the Vatican Museum tour and if someone books the entire tour, one can visit the chapel for free.

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Sistine Chapel Reviews

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Shashikala Devar
Reviewed: 30 Jan 2020
4.0/5
I cannot think of more better way to explore the iconic monuments of Italy than this experience. Thanks to Thrillophilia for such an amazing experience.
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Kamla Pandey
Reviewed: 31 Jan 2020
4.0/5
Visited the best places in Italy. Also, the guide was friendly and had knowledge about the place
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Som Kapoor
Reviewed: 31 Jan 2020
4.0/5
Skipped all the lines and entered easily with Thrillophilia, Amazing experience!!
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Dhana Ganaka
Reviewed: 30 Jan 2020
4.0/5
Great experience with Thrillophilia and very convenient by skipping the line.

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