The Sistine Chapel is one of the greatest treasures of the Vatican City, of Rome, and of the world in general. It's known as much for its decoration, as for being the temple in which popes are chosen and crowned.
The construction of the building was carried out between 1473 and 1481 during the mandate of Pope Sixtus IV, to whom it owes its current name. The architect responsible for the construction was Giovanni of Dolci and it's the only work that he is remembered for.
The most striking thing about the Sistine Chapel is not its architecture, but the frescoes that completely cover the walls and the ceiling. Some of the most important artists who worked in the chapel are Botticelli, Perugino, Luca, and Michelangelo.
The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel
All of the frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel are the work of Michelangelo, who spent four years painting the vault between 1508 and 1512.
If there is one thing that stands out from among the images on the ceiling, it's the nine stories from Genesis that occupy the central area: The scenes from the Drunkenness of Noah to the Separation of Light from Darkness are represented.
The Creation of Adam
Without any doubt, The Creation of Adam is the best-known image from the Sistine Chapel. It's located in the central part of the vault and represents the story from Genesis in which God gives life to Adam.
The Final Judgment
Located over the high altar and with some magnificent dimensions (13.7 by 12.2 meters), Michelangelo’s other masterpiece, The Final Judgment, is found. It's a fresco that represents the Apocalypse of St. John.
Decorating the apse occupied five years of Michelangelo’s life, between 1536 and 1541. It was an assignment of Pope Paul III to cover the murals that existed to that point.
Skip the lines
If you're visiting the Sistine chapel, you'll have to visit the Vatican museums, the most popular attraction in Rome and Europe.
The best way to do this is to take a combo tour that takes in the Basilica, Vatican Museums, and the Sistine Chapel, with a local guide, we recommend reserving a guided tour of the Vatican so you can make the most of the attraction.
If you hope to visit on your own, the best time is to go at 1 pm. We don't recommend going on the first Sunday of the month (when it's free) or over Easter. We also recommend that you avoid weekends, above all in high season.
Monday – Saturday: 9 am – 6 pm (Ticket office closes at 4 pm).
Sunday: Closed except the last Sunday of each month: 9 am – 2 pm. (Ticket office closes at midday, 12:30 pm).
1, 6 January: closed
11 February: closed
22 February: closed
19, 28 February: closed
29 June: closed
15 August: closed
1 November: closed
8, 26 December: closed
Adults: € 16 (US$ 17.40)
Children (ages 6 – 18): € 8 (US$ 8.70)
Students (ages 19 – 26): € 8 (US$ 8.70)
The entrance is free the last Sunday of each month.
Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Guided Tour € 47 (US$ 51.10)
Metro station: Cipro-Musei Vaticani, line A (orange).