The Sistine Chapel is a chapel located in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope, in Vatican City. Part of Rome’s Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel was decorated by art masters Sandro Botticelli and Pinturicchio in the 15th century and completed by Michelangelo. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the majesty of Michelangelo’s magnificent ceiling frescoes. The artist spent lonely years painting the chapel's ceiling and altar, transforming these walls into one of the great masterpieces. The Sistine Chapel serves as a glorious homage to Renaissance art and one of the most visited sights in all of Italy.
The Sistine Chapel is a room within the Vatican Museums, and one of the iconic and famous sights in all of Europe. Famous for its stunning frescoes, not least its amazing ceiling decoration, the Sistine Chapel was built in 1473, and completed in 1481, by Giovanni Dolci, at the order of Pope Sixtus IV. It is most famous for its Renaissance artwork, specifically by Michelangelo himself. The Creation of Adam is known the world over and is the iconic ceiling fresco that the chapel is probably best known for. It was by the man himself, Michelangelo, and gazing upwards at the wonder of this piece of art is undoubtedly something you will spend a large portion of time doing. The second most important piece of art is on the west wall, which stands behind the altar. As a hugely popular spot, make sure you arrive as early in the day as possible.
From the outside, the Sistine Chapel is a building in a rectangle shape, made of brick, and it has arched windows and a large ceiling with barrel-vaults. While it doesn’t look the most amazing on the outside, the inside will take your breath away. The interior is decorated in every inch by frescoes from the time of the Renaissance, and some of the most important and famous artists of the time. The side walls of the chapel date back to 1481, and on the north wall you will see six frescoes which are designed to show essential events throughout religious history, such as the life of Christ, by Perugino, Botticelli, and Ghirlandaio, to name a few. The south wall features another six frescoes which show the life of Moses, and above these, you will see smaller works of art between the various windows, which show the lives of the popes throughout history. You don’t need to be particularly religious to be able to appreciate the enormous importance of the Sistine Chapel’s meaning and art, but if you are, then you will certainly feel a sense of belonging and emotion when you gaze upon the pieces before you. Of course, the most critical parts of work were made by Michelangelo, with the ceiling and behind the altar being the most significant locations. The ceiling fresco dates back to 1512 and was ordered by Pope Julius II. These show stories from the Old Testament, and the Last Judgement on the west wall. Of course, the Sistine Chapel is the pope’s working chapel, and as a result, there are important ceremonies which go on at certain times. Be sure to check ahead to ensure the chapel isn’t closed for visitors, but these events aren’t that regular, so you shouldn’t run into any issues. Remember, queues are likely to be large, so get there as early as you can, or later in the afternoon, to queue less and to be able to walk around and gaze upon the art in relative comfort. There are also occasional restoration works which go on throughout the chapel and on the various buildings, but these are known about a reasonable period of time beforehand, so merely check before you plan to visit, to avoid disappointment.