Visiting Rome for the first time, visitors must experience the Sistine Chapel (Cappella Sistina), the Vatican structure with ... More
Visiting Rome for the first time, visitors must experience the Sistine Chapel (Cappella Sistina), the Vatican structure with 50 million monthly visitors. The Chapel was built between 1477 and 1481 by Pope Sixtus IV. From 1480 to 1483 the walls were decorated by famous artists of the Renaissance such as Botticelli, Perugino, and Ghirlandaio. After 20 years, Julius II commissioned Michelangelo to decorate the ceiling in 1508. Today, after the restoration, tourists can visit the Chapel and see Michelangelo's "Last Judgement." The Vatican has placed its enormous art collection on the Web in hopes that it will attract more tourists. The site allows visitors to take a virtual reality tour of some of the dozen museums and galleries that make up the Vatican collection, viewing Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel with a three-dimensional video. The Chapel will be crowded with hundreds of tourists, so be prepared. The best way to see it is to go to the Vatican Museums early, so that you are among the first in line when they open.
We've all seen the pictures but it doesn't compare to seeing it with your own eyes. After a two hour stand in the rain our souls were cleansed and once inside it was the most fantastic visual overload! Worth the money/time? Of course, however recommend one does not go during Easter week and to wear very comfortable shoes. We plan to go again this fall - even if crowded.
We just got back from seeing London, Paris and Rome. Saw a lot of really amazing sights: Westminster, the British Museum, the Musee d'Orsay, St. Peters. Our guided tour through the Vatican Museum, which focused on the Sistine, was definitely the highlight, as far as tourist attractions went. The Sistine is much larger than we expected, covered with really remarkable art, including Michelangelo's amazing paintings of Genesis on the ceiling and the last judgment on the wall behind the altar.
A caveat: we took a guided tour, led by a tiny Italian woman who apparently knew everything there is to know about the Vatican, and our tour director got us up at 5:30 am so we could be in line by 7:00. We were the first tour group into the museum, and our guide hurried us through the museum a bit, so as to get to the Sistine quickly. As a result, we were the first group there, and the 14 of us pretty much had the place to ourselves for about 30 minutes, while the guide explained what we were seeing, with an emphasis on the history of the artworks and the content of the Last Judgment, which includes a self-portrait by Michelangelo and a depection of one of his critics as Minos, lord of the underworld. By the time we left the place was really crowded, and there were a lot of people wandering around unguided, trying to figure out what they were seeing from guidebooks. Had we tried to see it that way I don't think it would have meant nearly as much to us, though I still don't think we'd have described the place as boring.
To us, the Sistine is a must-see, even if, like us, you're not a red-hot art fan and student; the paintings, seen in their historical context, are just breathtaking. How and when you see it, though, may decide whether you give the experience 10 out of 10 or a 5 or 6.
Recently arrived at the chapel at 8am to find about five hundred people on line. Despite the fact that tour books state it opens at 8:45-it does not. We were,however,offered immediate entry-to skip the line for 80Euros!!! We could well have afforded it but on principle refused-how disgusting that the catholic church can be bought!!!!!
It was absolutely beautiful, but take some time to see the museums. For example, the Greek museum has two mummies which are cool. Standing there inside the chapel looking at the same ceiling that centuries of people have shared is an amazing experience. There are only two problems. First, the guards who are supposed to quite the crowds end up making more noise clapping their hands than the crowd actually makes...realy irritating. Also, we learned that the cost of the renovations to the ceiling the chapel were absorbed by Nikon when the church ran low on funds for the project. As a result, the ban on picture taking inside the chapel itself is not because of religious observance, but is due to the fact that Nikon now owns the rights to all photos inside the chapel. So, take lots of "no flash" shots as you move through the Vatican, but grab a book or some postcards of the chapel.
Even with the longest line I have ever been in, it was worth the wait! While you are in line you walk by some of the most beautiful art you have ever seen. Walking into the Sistine Chapel takes your breath away. It is a MUST SEE if you are ever in Rome.
The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel has recently been restored, and it's amazing to see so much of Michelangelo's work in one room. Of course, everyone else agrees and it's very crowded, so it's best to go early in the morning.
I have traveled around the world and seen art in musuems such as the Louvre, the Uffizi, and the National Gallery of art in Washington D.C. but nothing compares to the Sistine chapel ceiling. Michelangelo's heart and soul is in his artwork and as you walk along the tiled floor staring at the ceiling you get a sense of just how much he put into it.
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