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Top sights in Rome
When it comes to touring the Vatican City, the best is saved until last: the revered Sistine Chapel. A tour de force of art and architecture by the most famous Renaissance artists, it will dazzle you. Here’s a list of highlights.
The Sistine Chapel is Michelangelo’s masterpiece. Its ceiling is divided into nine scenes from the Book of Genesis, depicting the creation of the world from light to dark, sun to moon, Adam to Eve.
One of the most famous artworks of all time, the centerpiece of the ceiling is a fresco painting depicting God bringing Adam to life with his fingertips.
Michelangelo’s fresco depicting the Last Judgment can be seen above the altar. Interestingly, he started working on it 25 years after the ceiling, and it took four years to complete.
See scenes from Moses’s life, including his journey through Egypt, portrayed by the Renaissance greats: Botticelli, Perugino and Rosselli.
The wall to the right of the altar shows scenes from Jesus’s life according to the great Renaissance painters.
Starting in 1508, Michelangelo spent lonely years painting the chapel's ceiling and altar, transforming these walls into one of the great masterpieces. In the words of Goethe, "If you haven't seen the Sistine Chapel, it's impossible to have any idea of what one man is capable of doing." The walls will come to life as you step in!
Don't wear shorts, short skirts, or sleeveless shirts without bringing a scarf or covering, as you will not be allowed in. Taking photographs is strictly prohibited in the chapel.
Located in Vatican City, the Sistine Chapel is part of the Vatican Museums, so can only be entered through the Museum. Admission is included in the purchase of a ticket to the Vatican Museum. Beware of anyone trying to sell you just for the Sistine Chapel, it’s a scam.
Over 4.5 million visitors come to the Sistine Chapel per year, so it’s difficult to completely avoid a crowd. During the Pope’s address on Wednesday mornings it’s a bit quieter, as at lunchtimes. Buying tickets in advance is always a good idea.
- When should I visit?
- The Sistine Chapel is closed on Sundays and Catholic holidays. Opening hours can be erratic, so check online to avoid disappointment.
- Is it expensive?
- €17 general entry
- Will I need a guide?
- If you want to learn more about the amazing pieces of art, sure! There are tickets for small group tours, as well as a chance to make the Sistine Chapel part of your Rome City Pass.
- How to get there
- The Vatican City is located inside of Rome. Bus 49 will get you there. Alternatively, take the red metro line to Cipro station.
- Additional information
- Beware of pickpockets, especially on crowded public transport. Hold onto your bags, and keep valuables out of sight.
- Be sure to bring a cardigan or other long-sleeved garment to cover up your arms when entering the Sistine Chapel.
What people are saying about Sistine Chapel
Esperienza molto positiva. Sono riuscita a vedere tutta la città con una guida personale ( guida esperta e molto preparata). L’esperienza è molto ben fatta perché nella piena autonomia ti permette di visitare la città sfruttando 2 circuiti. Il promo parte dal Colosseo e il secondo da San Pietro. Entrambe hanno una frequenza di circa 1,5 ore tra una partenza e l’altra. La guida attraverso il suo smartphone parlava e spiegava la città e io la ascoltavo dal mio telefono attraverso l’integrazione di una radioguida digitale. Ho potuto godere appieno della libertà di seguire, lasciare e riprendere il tour guidato e sfruttare pure percorsi alternativi utilizzando a volte l’audio guida geo-localizzata che sempre attraverso il mio smartphone mi offriva percorsi e informazioni. La società sembra essere italiana e sono fiera di questa eccellenza nazionale. Ottima esperienza. La suggerisco
We were very happy with our guide on this tour - he was very knowledgeable, answered all of our questions, kept the tour moving, kept it interesting for our 12 & 14 year old girls, and also helped entertain / interact with the 3 & 6 year old also in our tour group. He was energetic, fun, and seemed to be sure that EVERYONE got what they wanted out of the tour. He definitely knows his stuff, and I would recommend this tour to anyone - including families with teens or kids.
This was a fantastic tour made particularly good by our excellent tour guide Matej. The wealth of art and architecture on display was incredible, and Matej's knowledge of it all was very impressive. If anything, 3 hours wasn't enough, and in fact by the time we left St Peter's Basilica it had been closer to 4. It was nice to go at a time when it was less busy due to Covid, and I would highly recommend it to anyone in Rome.
All the important areas of the Vatican were covered in great detail without going on too long. The Vatican may be the single most impressive site on the entire planet, and we were able to see it in great and splendid detail. Our guide was top of the line and was able to develop a great relationship with everyone in the group. Plus, no queues for obvious reasons, so that made it a pretty unique experience.
Wonderful tour full of information and all the perfect highlights! Would highly recommend to anyone traveling to the area and wanting to see the Vatican and St. Peters Basilica. David was an amazing tour guide that was experienced and knowledgeable. Thankful to have had this tour otherwise we would have been so lost and not known what to do or what we were seeing.