In the Pope's official residence, come here to see The Last Judgement by Michelangelo. If there is only one thing to see in the Vatican, this must be it.

Know Before You Go

Everything you see in the Sistine Chapel is worth viewing; although everyone goes for the ceiling painting by Michelangelo the incredible frescoes by the Renaissance Painters shouldn't be overlooked.
This area gets really crowded try to arrive as early as you can or visit in low season if possible to make the most of it.
Tours are available, although many of the exhibits are well signed. If you want to learn more perhaps take a knowledgeable Tour Guide.
It can get very crowded for small children.

|Official Residence of the Pope

The Sistine Chapel is located in the Apostolic Palace which is the Pope's official residency. The chapel still hosts important services of the Papal calendar, there is also a permanent choir. A lot of original music has been written for the choir including Gregorio Allegri's Miserere.

The Last Judgement

The Sistine Chapel is famed for its frescoes, and The Last Judgement by Michelangelo and his famous ceiling is the unanimous highlight. It has been drawing visitors to the Vatican for more than 500 years. It is estimated that this alone brings in $100 million annually in ticket sales, contributed by 25,000 visitors a day.

Michelangelo began work on the ceiling in July 1508. The completed frescoes were unveiled in October 1512. The chapel's paintings cover 12,000 sq ft, about one-sixth the size of a football pitch.

The main nine panels at the centre of Michelangelo's ceiling depict stories from the Book of Genesis, from the Creation to the story of Noah. Michelangelo painted the vast fresco of The Last Judgment on the end altar wall of the Sistine Chapel long after the ceiling frescoes, between 1536 to 1541.

Michelangelo's frescoes and portrayal of God

The frescoes are famous for Michelangelo's portrayal of God. Michelangelo's God is a muscular figure with long white hair and big white beard. God is depicted six times in the ceiling frescoes.

Depiction of Christ in the frescoes

Christ does not feature as an adult at all. The Christ Child appears amongst the figures under God's cloak in the famous image of God Creating Adam. This is because, apart from images of the sibyls, the ceiling is concerned only with the Old Testament. Christ appears in Michelangelo's later fresco of The Last Judgment on the chapel's altar wall.

The Papal Conclave

The election of a new pope, the papal conclave, is held in the Sistine Chapel. During the election, the chapel's doors are closed with the words "Extra Omnes" which means "Everyone out". The elections are held in absolute secrecy, and are today a globally followed live event. Followed from the outside of course.

The progress is marked by smoke rising from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel. Smoke rises at the end of every ballot, from a stove installed for the election. White smoke indicates that a new pope has been elected. Bells are rung to commemorate the occasion.

Key Highlights

Everyone must visit the Sistine Chapel once in their lifetime. And if there is only one thing you must see in The Sistine Chapel, head straight to view the ceiling painted by Michelangelo.

Also view the series of frescoes from famous Renaissance era painters such as Botticelli, Roseli and Ghirlandaio. The frescoes include a depiction of the Life of Moses and the Life of Christ which dates back to 1482.

Learn more about the Papal Concalve and the depiction of God in Michelangelo's frescoes.

Map : Sistine Chapel

Other Rome Top 10 Attractions Near Sistine Chapel are marked in yellow

Distance of other top ten Attractions from Sistine Chapel
St Peters Basilica0.1 Km
Vatican Museums0.4 Km
Piazza Navona1.6 Km
Pantheon1.9 Km
Doria Pamphilj Gallery2.3 Km
Spanish Steps2.4 Km
Trevi Fountain2.4 Km
Palatine Hill3.1 Km
Borghese Gallery and Museum3.4 Km
Roman Colosseum3.4 Km

These distances are approximate [As the crow flies]

Review and Feedback on Sistine Chapel:

Rome experts have nominated Sistine Chapel as one of the absolutely unforgettable things to do in Rome. Sistine Chapel should be on your "bucket list" when you plan the trip to Rome. Given the vibrancy of Rome, it is hard to restrict this selection of travel bucket list ideas to just top ten. The review of Sistine Chapel as well as the insightful tips and Faqs have been authored by Rome expert.

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