Visiting the Vatican - What to See and Do

The Sistine Chapel

Places to see 0 1746
Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel is one of the key sites of your visit to the Vatican City.

It is located inside the Vatican Museum’s complexes , so in order to visit it it is necessary to buy tickets and do almost the complete tour around the museums, as the Sistine Chapel stands at the  at the end of the walk.

Access is not possible from St Peter’s Basilica, and there is no way of visiting the Chapel without a tour to the Museums.

Pope Julius II was the pontiff who ordered Michelangelo to carry out the pictoric decoration of the Chapel. This Pope wanted the maximum glory for the Vatican and for himself.

What to see

The Chapel is not particularly big. In fact the ceiling is 40 meters long and 13 meters wide.

The iconography represented is very varied, showing for example images of the  Book of Genesis (with the world-famous picture of God touching Adam’s finger ).

You can also observe portraits of prophets, sibyls and scenes from the history of Israel.

In total there are more than 300 figures, many of which show two-dimension effects, taking advantage of the room’s architecture making up an artistically skilled work without precedents.

The works took 4 years to be completed.

Tips for your visit

– Some people feel disappointed due to the size of the room and its scarce illumination, which is kept as such to avoid the deterioration of the pictures.

– The enormous interest these frescos arise and the large amount of visitors they attract are a constant worry, to the point that it has been suggested that the Chapel should be closed to the public. We do not know if this is a medium-term option. Just in case, try to visit the chapel as soon as possible.

– During peak hours, many visitors are irritated when guards do not allow them to stop and they cannot enjoy the works of art as much as they would want to.
It is a real problem that occurs during very busy days, and we assume this is the best idea the organisers have come up with in order to guarantee everyone’s safety.
In any case, this does not always happen. On quieter days or hours there is no visit time limit.

– There is a direct access connecting the Sistine Chapel with St Peter’s Basilica, but this is only available if you are doing a guided tour.
If you visit the Museum on your own you cannot exit through that access, unless you want to slip through…

– If you have special interest in visiting the Sistine Chapel double check the times and dates it is open. There may be days when its doors are closed for some special reason, even when the rest of the museum is open.

–  Taking photos inside the Chapel is not allowed.

Related links

Vatican museums private guided tour
Tips for visiting the Vatican Museums
Places to see in the Vatican

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