The Sistine Chapel

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Vatican City, Italy

The Sistine Chapel Vatican City Reviews

Andy99 Andy99
579 reviews
The Magnificent Sistine Chapel Sep 28, 2012
How to begin to write a review of the chamber containing two of the world's great masterpieces? The Sistine Chapel was constructed in 1471-1483 under Sixtus IV. It was a chapel for the Pope, adjacent to Old St. Peter's Basilica. (The present St. Peter's would not begin construction for another 25 years.) The frescoes along the walls under the windows are by Botticelli and other painters from Florence. They depict events in the lives of Moses and of Jesus. These frescoes are contemporary with construction of the chapel.

What about the cieling? Julius II commissioned Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in 1507. Michelangelo was already famous for this sculptures of Pieta and David and reluctant to take on a painting assignment, but he did and greatly enlarged the scope of the project into the masterpiece visitors encounter. Painted in 1508-1512, the ceiling recounts the story of Genesis in nine scenes from the Creation to the Flood. The most famous scene is the Creation of Adam in which the forefingers of God and Adam are nearly touching. You can feel the electricity of the scene, evening viewing it from below! Equally captivating are the Creation of the Sun, Moon, and Planets, Downfall of Adam and Eve and the humorous Drunkenness of Noah.

Michelangelo was called again in 1535 to paint the back wall of the chapel, nearly 25 years after the cieling. The Last Judgement, the result, is indescribable. Michelangelo presents a universe of characters, each with a personality, in his sweeping painting and presided over by a Jesus who is definitely in charge. There is no time here, given the crowds, to absorb it all. I recommend study beforehand so you can be sure to look at the characterizations and sections of greatest interest to you. This is the high tide of the High Renaissance.

The ceiling and the Last Judgment were methodically cleaned of smoke stains in 1980-2000, bringing out Michelangelo's bright colors for the first time in centuries.

The Sistine Chapel is included in admission to the Vatican Museums. It is located at the end of the museum galleries, so visitors must decide how to allot time between the museum exhibits and going to the chapel. Do not miss it.

The exterior of the Sistine Chapel is quite plain and can be seen from St. Peter's Square. When a new Pope is to be elected, the conclave of Cardinals meets in the Sistine Chapel. Famously, black smoke (no decision) or white smoke (a Pope as been elected) issues from the small chimney on the roof. The chimney can be seen, too, but it is very small against the antennae on the roof.

Photography is not permitted. I have presented photos of the orientation displays at the entrance to the Vatican Museums.
The Sistine Chapel exterior
The Sistine Chapel orientation dis…
The Sistine Chapel Ceiling orienta…
The Last Judgement orientation dis…
3 / 3 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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Jamal1280 says:
The Sistine Chapel was marvelous! I was pissed off that they didn't allow photography in there :( But I understood why.
Posted on: Nov 02, 2012
Dr_Seuss says:
Worth going to the Vatican to see this alone. First time I was there they only let you enter in small groups with museum attendants watching you closely. Last time I was there it was a free for all and everyone had their cameras and phones out taking pictures.
Posted on: Oct 21, 2012
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cavlizzy cavlizzy
37 reviews
BEAUTIFUL Jun 04, 2011
The best way to see The Sistine Chapel is with a tour that gets you in EARLY. (but skip the tour and RUN straight to the Chapel first! so you can see it before it is packed, it will still take you 20 min to walk to it fast) or you must get there VERY early to stand in line for about 2 hours before it opens. Otherwise,,, you will be in for a very crowded day. Then you may back track to the art rooms, etc... Yes, this is doing it backwards, but you get to see the BEST thing uncrowded and be able to move about the room. Do NOT overlook the The Last Judgement on the alter wall by Michelangelo or the frescos down the sides of the room. Many only look up at the ceiling. Michelangelo did the alter when he was much older, and the wall has many stories in it from him,,,read before you go! Fascinating. The frescos along the wall were done BEFORE Michelangelo... and are masterpieces themselves.

**Take binocholars for the ceiling.... remember it is 67 feet up! Details are easier to see with these!! My kids loved this too.

** I recently found more pics I will be adding....
School of Athens by Raphael - in a…
St.Peters - The Vatican
in St.Peters church - The Pieta by…
4 / 4 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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cavlizzy says:
Ryan,,,What does E&OE mean?? :)
Posted on: May 08, 2011
RyanCorrea says:
Nice - sorry! E&OE
Posted on: May 01, 2011
RyanCorrea says:
Nive tip about the binoculors.
Posted on: May 01, 2011
traceyirish traceyir…
46 reviews
Amazing! Jun 04, 2011
The tour of the Sistine chapel was included in our tour price. It was absolutely packed the day we went there (a Saturday afternoon) and we kind of just shuffled through the mob, trying to get a bit of space down the back. Now, photography is meant to be prohobited, but veryone else was snapping away so I said "When in Rome...!"
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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dtv1087 dtv1087
2 reviews
No Cameras shhhh Sep 07, 2011
Michelangelo's work on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel had me in awe! No cameras were permitted mainly due to flash damage to the fresco, however I used my IPhone camera without the flash and happy with the photos it took. Vatican City can be overwhelming so a guided tour was perfect for me and my family to start early and see the highlights before the crowds :)
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carlydc1985 carlydc1…
6 reviews
A must see Mar 22, 2011
The Sistine Chapel is a must see when in Vatican City. I'm not the biggest art enthusiast by any means, but I am a history buff & this was astounding. I think anybody who walks in would agree that no matter what your interests are this is awe-inspiring. Go, go go!
Musei Vaticani
Definitely was yelled at for snapp…
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HuBison HuBison
417 reviews
How to get a seat! Jun 11, 2010
Everything is looped and connected and as long as you go through the right door, if you enter early in the morning (as you should, don't go in the middle of the day to avoid the crowd), skip everything and go right to the Sistine Chapel. Then you can get a seat, take in all the art, and just hang out for 30 minutes. Once you are done, then you can go back through everything else (and that could take you another hour or so).

Can you take pictures? Hmm, I guess it depends on how the stars are aligned. There are signs everywhere about not being permitted to take pics, but I saw tourists taking pics like it was going out of style. I asked the guard and he said it was allowed.
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peppertm peppertm
116 reviews
The Sistine Chapel Jul 13, 2009
Only accessible after paying admission for the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel is a sight to behold! Commissioned by Pope Sixtus IV in 1475, it was designed to be, and still is, the Pope’s chapel and the site of papal elections. The chapel is famous for its architecture and its decoration, which has been frescoed throughout by the greatest Renaissance artists, such as Michelangelo, Raphael, Bernini, and Botticelli, but perhaps the most famous part is the ceiling, painted by Michelangelo between the four years 1508 to 1512. Michelangelo also painted The Last Judgement on the altar wall between 1535 and 1541. Vatican City is busy, and the Sistine Chapel is no different. Expect line-ups when paying to enter, and expect a lot of people to be in the chapel. There are a lot of chapel employees around, and they will be quick to tell you to get rid of your camera if they see it, seeing as there are no pictures allowed. So, if you REALLY want to get a picture, make sure the flash is off, as the guard will be quicker and more likely to catch you if you have it on. It is absolutely worth the price of admission to see this amazing place.
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