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Sistine Chapel

The jewel in the Vatican's crown, adorned with a stunning fresco by Michelangelo.

TravelCurious Tip

Maybe do some neck-strengthening exercises before this one - you won't be able to take your eyes off the ceiling!

Painting the heavens

The Sistine Chapel is one of the most famed structures in Vatican City, and its ceiling is one of the world’s major masterpieces - not only of the High Renaissance, but in the entire history of art.

It was designed and painted by Michelangelo, who spent four years on a specially designed scaffold about 68 feet above ground, later adding his painting of The Last Judgement to the chapel wall. Michelangelo created the figures much larger than life, with the intention that when you gaze from below they appear as if you could reach out and touch them.

The hands of God

Most of us have seen reproductions of the iconic image of God giving life to Adam in the clouds, but nothing beats the real thing. Other striking scenes depicted from the Book of Genesis include the downfall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and God in the act of Creation. The astounding composition is peopled with saints, prophets and angels everywhere you look, and also features mind-bending trompe l’oeil details that look like architectural mouldings.

The Last Judgement contains some more sinister figures, including a gruesome image of a soul in Heaven holding a the flayed skin of a man - rumoured to be a self-portrait - and the donkey-eared Minos, the judge of the Underworld, who was given the face of the Pope’s official Biagio da Cesena in retaliation for his calling Michelangelo’s work ‘disgraceful.’

You must remember to make sure to have your shoulders covered when entering the Chapel, and no photos, videos or talking are allowed - though you will find many people breaking this last rule, to the chagrin of the attendants. The chapel is located within the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican but must be accessed through the Vatican Museums. Do not miss this visionary spectacle - the crowds will be worth it.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Rome
St. Peter's Basilica
The most important church in the Catholic world, and without doubt the most impressive.
Vatican Museums
A jaw-dropping Papal collection of art and artefacts.
Castel Sant'Angelo
The former tomb of the emperor Hadrian is now an imposing fortress full of Papal history.
St. Peter's Square
Designed by Bernini, St Peter's Square is a stunning colonnaded piazza leading up to St. Peter's Basilica.
St. Peter's Dome
The greatest dome in Christendom (and the largest in the world).
Lungotevere
The banks of the Tiber, or the Lungotevere, offer impressive views of Rome and are lined with drooping trees.

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Vatican City is considered the centre of the Roman Catholic Church and is undoubtedly one of the most historically and culturally-rich cities in the world. As the world’s smallest independent state, situated in the centre of Rome, Vatican City is home to the Swiss Guards – tasked with protecting the Pope; St. Peter’s Basilica – the centre of the Catholic world; St. Peter’s Square – a large plaza situated in front of St. Peter’s Basilica; Sistine Chapel – the official residence of the Pope; and Vatican Museums – home to paintings and sculptures collected by the Popes for hundreds of years. 
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  • Explore the Vatican Museums - home to some of the most renowned classical sculptures and masterpieces from the Renaissance. 
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  • Skip-the-line and be mesmerized by Michelangelo’s two great frescoes at the Sistine Chapel – The Creation and the Last Judgement.
  • Immerse yourself in the hidden gems of the museums, exploring rooms which are closed to the public at all times. This includes the Room of the AnimalsGallery of Statues, and the Cabinet of Masks.
  • Step foot in the largest and most important Catholic Church in the world – St. Peter’s Basilica.
Vatican City is considered to be the centre of the Roman Catholic Church and is undoubtedly one of the most historically and culturally-rich cities in the world. As the world’s smallest independent state, situated in the centre of Rome, Vatican City is home to the Swiss Guards – tasked with protecting the Pope; St. Peter’s Basilica – the centre of the Catholic world; St. Peter’s Square – a large plaza situated in front of St. Peter’s Basilica; Sistine Chapel – the official residence of the Pope; and Vatican Museums – home to paintings and sculptures collected by the Popes for hundreds of years. 

Your comprehensive tour of Vatican Museums will whisk you through the entire complex. Begin with a stroll through the impressive Belvedere Courtyard, before exploring the many rooms and galleries of the museums. Explore the Gallery of Tapestries, the Gallery of Maps, and be mesmerised by Michelangelo’s great frescoes inside the Sistine Chapel. This VIP-style tour will also give travellers access to the hidden gems and secret rooms of the museum, which aren't typically open for public viewing. You will have exclusive access to the Room of the Animals, Gallery of Statues, and the Cabinet of the Masks.       
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On this tour of the home of the Catholic Church, you will have the opportunity to visit the important landmarks with major significance to Catholics. Hear about the tumultuous history of the Church and the colourful popes who reside behind these sturdy walls. 

  • Explore the Vatican Museums - home to some of the most renowned classical sculptures and masterpieces from the Renaissance. 
  • Enjoy a stroll through the impressive Belvedere Courtyard.
  • Marvel at some of the finest pieces of artwork at the Gallery of Tapestries and the Gallery of Maps.
  • Learn the history behind the impressive collection of sculptures, carvings, frescoes and paintings.
  • Skip-the-line and be mesmerized by Michelangelo’s two great frescoes at the Sistine Chapel – The Creation and the Last Judgement.
  • Immerse yourself in the hidden gems of the museums, exploring rooms which are closed to the public at all times. This includes the Room of the AnimalsGallery of Statues, and the Cabinet of Masks.
  • Step foot in the largest and most important Catholic Church in the world – St. Peter’s Basilica.
Vatican City is considered the centre of the Roman Catholic Church and is undoubtedly one of the most historically and culturally-rich cities in the world. As the world’s smallest independent state, situated in the centre of Rome, Vatican City is home to the Swiss Guards – tasked with protecting the Pope; St. Peter’s Basilica – the centre of the Catholic world; St. Peter’s Square – a large plaza situated in front of St. Peter’s Basilica; Sistine Chapel – the official residence of the Pope; and Vatican Museums – home to paintings and sculptures collected by the Popes for hundreds of years. 

Your comprehensive tour of Vatican Museums will whisk you through the entire complex. Begin with a stroll through the impressive Belvedere Courtyard, before exploring the many rooms and galleries of the museums. Explore the Gallery of Tapestries, the Gallery of Maps, and be mesmerised by Michelangelo’s great frescoes inside the Sistine Chapel. This VIP-style tour will also give travellers access to the hidden gems and secret rooms of the museum, which aren't typically open for public viewing. You will have exclusive access to the Room of the Animals, Gallery of Statues, and the Cabinet of the Masks. 
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