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Visiting Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Ceiling

The Sistine Chapel, located in Vatican City, was built from 1473 to 1481 by architect, Giovanni dei Dolci.  Pope Sixtus IV wanted the chapel for domestic services.  From 1480 to 1483 the walls of the chapel were decorated by famous Renaissance artists including Botticelli, Perugino and Ghirlandaio.  In 1508, Julius II commissioned Michelangelo to decorate the ceiling of the chapel.

Today the Sistine Chapel is the most famous chapel in the world and is known for its amazing paintings, two of which are the most famous frescoes in the world, Genesis, or The Creation of Adam, and The Last Judgment.  The Sistine Chapel ceiling and the altar frescoes are considered by many to be Michelangelo’s greatest works.

Though no longer used for traditional services the Sistine Chapel does not sit empty, it is used for official ceremonies by the Pope, is used by Cardinals from around the world to select a new pope and is a part of the museums of the Vatican.  When visiting the museums of the Vatican the Sistine Chapel is the last room in the series of museums.

An admission ticket is required and will allow you to visit the Vatican Museums as well as the Sistine Chapel.  The tickets are non-refundable and are valid only for the day of issue.  There is a fee for tickets with an exception of the last Sunday of the month which is free.  Tickets may be purchased on the grounds or ahead of time on the website.

Vatican Museums are typically open Monday to Saturday from 9:00am-6:00pm, hours do vary so check the website for prices and to be sure the Chapel will be open when you plan to visit.

Reservations are not required but are recommended.  The museums are popular destinations and can be crowded.  To avoid long lines, it is recommended to arrive early or book a guided tour through the Vatican Museums or through an approved travel agency who has an account with the Vatican Museums.

When visiting the Sistine Chapel be sure to dress appropriately.  You will be denied admittance if you are wearing a sleeveless blouse, miniskirt, shorts, or a hat.  Also be prepared that photography is prohibited.

Visiting the Sistine Chapel can be a challenge as well as an expense but if you talk with anyone who has been there in person you will quickly learn that it is well worth the hassle and the cost.

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