Sistine Chapel Tickets

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Opening hours

Monday to Saturday 9.00am – 6.00pm (last entry at 4.00pm)

Last Sunday of the month 9.00am – 2.00pm (free entry- last entry at 12.30pm)

The entry fee is €17.00, if you buy online it costs an additional €4.00 but with this you can skip the line and avoid any queues to enter. There are several reduced rate tickets available for students, clergy, children, elderly and disabled and ranging from free entry to € 12.00. Entry on the last Sunday of the month is free but numbers are limited so you will need to arrive early.

How to get there

00120 Vatican City

The easiest way is on the metro. Take line A to Ottaviano Station. It is then a short walk to the entrance through St. Peter’s Square (Piazza San Pietro). There are several bus routes that serve the Vatican. Number 49 stops directly in front of the entrance to the Vatican Museums. 31, 81 and 982 stop at Piazza del Risorgimento which is just a short walk from the main entrance into St. Peter’s Square. 492 and 990, both stop at Via Leone IV/Via degli Scipioni which is also a short walk from the entrance. Tram number 19 stops at Piazza del Risorgimento. Another alternative is to use a taxi, you should make sure the driver uses the meter and not try to negotiate a fare.


Why is it called the Sistine Chapel?
It was originally known as the Cappella Magna but was restored from 1477 until 1480 under the orders of Pope Sixtus IV and takes his name.
What is the purpose or role of the Sistine Chapel?
It is used for both religious and papal functions and its most famous role is when a new pope is elected. White smoke indicates when the new pope has been chosen while black smoke indicates that another voting session is required as neither candidate received a two-thirds majority. Today, it is mostly used for tourism purposes with visitors and pilgrims eager to view the frescoes on the ceiling.
How many people visit the Sistine Chapel each year?
There are more than 5 million visitors every year that come to view the nine ceiling panels that depict scenes from the book of Genesis.
How big is the Sistine Chapel?
The Sistine Chapel measures 40.23m in length, 13.40m wide and 20.70m in height. These are reputedly the same measurements as that of Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem that was destroyed in about 70AD. The exterior is very plain, in stark contrast to what can be seen inside.
Michelangelo is famous for painting here, was he the only painter?
During the restoration of 1477-80, a team of painters created frescoes that depicted the Life of Moses and the Life of Christ. There were also papal portraits and drapery. These painters were Sandro Botticelli, Pietro Perugino, Cosimo Rosselli and Domenico Ghirlandaio and the work was completed in 1482. The chapel was then consecrated with its first mass in August 1483. Michelangelo was first commissioned to paint the ceiling from 1508 until 1512, in doing so he changed the ideals surrounding art with one of the most artistic achievements ever accomplished. He then returned from 1535 until 1541 painting the Last Judgement during the reigns of Pope Clement VII and Pope Paul III. His artistic masterpiece replaced a scene that depicted a blue sky covered with stars.


Michelangelo’s Paintings
At the ceilings highest point there are nine scenes depicted from the Book of Genesis. These include the Separation of Light from Darkness at the end of the chapel closest to the altar with the Drunkenness of Noah at the opposite end. Amongst the famous panels you can see The Creation of Adam as well as The Fall of Man and the Expulsion from Paradise. There are also images of prophets, pagan symbols and at the time of their creation controversial twisting male nudes decorating the corners.
The Last Judgement
The second coming of Christ is depicted in this fresco, where he is judging all of mankind. Those that are blessed are to the right and headed to heaven, while those on the left are heading to hell for eternal damnation while being tortured by demons.
Secret Images
Physicians in 1990 suggested that the shape and figure of God in The Creation of Adam makes an image of the human brain. Further claims in 2010 revealed that The Separation of Light and Darkness contains a brain stem. Other theories have suggested an image of a kidney is included in the frescoes. Michelangelo, as a sculptor had an interest in the human body, studying cadavers to better understand the human anatomy and had good knowledge of human internal organs.
Restoration Work
Restoration work began in the Sistine Chapel in 1980 with experts cleaning and reattaching the fresco over the next 14 years. There was an extreme amount of controversy over this work with critics making the claim that a layer of paint was being removed which had intentionally been used by Michelangelo to show depth through the use of darker colours. Others disagreed claiming the restoration work was in fact essential in reviving the brilliant colours used in this masterpiece.
There are some restrictions that must be observed by visitors to the Sistine Chapel. These include no touching of the exhibits, no photography or filming inside, wearing of modest clothing and no alcohol.

Attractions Nearby

Trevi Fountain
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Spanish Steps and the Piazza di Spagna
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Roman Forum
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This classical temple was originally built by Marcus Agrippa. He built it as a temple for all of Ancient Rome’s gods. It was rebuilt in the 2nd century AD. Cassius Dio, speculated that the name was chosen because of the statues of the gods stationed around the building as well as the domes resemblance to heaven.