The Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel, formerly called Cappella Magna, is a major attraction at the Vatican museum and draws the attention of many tourists with its historical and cultural legacy.

The Chapel is named after Pope Sixtus IV.

Pope Sixtus IV commissioned Giovanni dei Dolci to restore the Old Capella Magna between 1477 to 1481.

Sistine Chapel comes at the last of the 26 galleries inside the Vatican museum. 

Of all the other galleries of the Vatican museum, the Sistine Chapel is the most famous and attracts several visitors.

Why is it so famous?

The fame of the Sistine Chapel lies in the Renaissance Frescoes that decorate the interiors, particularly the ceiling of the Sistine chapel and the walls. 

Many Florentine Renaissance artists created the Frescoes around the walls of this chapel.

Starting from 1481, it took three years to paint the frescoes around the chapel’s side walls.

North wall of Sistine Chapel

There are six frescos painted around the north wall, depicting the events from the life of Jesus Christ. 

Perugino, Pinturicchio, Sandro Botticelli, and Domenico Ghirlandaio owe the credit to paint these beautiful frescoes on the north wall. 

These are the paintings that decorate the Sistine Chapel’s northern wall.

PaintingName of the artist
Baptism of ChristPietro and assistants
Temptations of ChristSandro Botticelli
Vocation of the ApostlesDomenico Ghirlandaio
Sermon on the MountCosmi Rosselli
Delivery of the KeysPietro Perugino
Last Supper Cosimo Rosselli

South wall of Sistine Chapel

The frescos covering the southern wall of the chapel depict the story of Moses.

Several artists painted a series of events from the life of Moses on the altar wall. 

These include Perugino, Pinturicchio, Botticelli, Domenico, Benedetto Ghirlandaio, Rosselli, Luca Signorelli, and Bartolomeo Della Gatta.

PaintingName of the artist
Moses Leaving for EgyptPietro Perugino
The Trials of MosesSandro Botticelli
Crossing of the Red SeaCosimo Rosselli and Domenico Ghirlandaio
Descent from Mount SinaiCosimo Rosselli
Punishment of the RebelsSandro Botticelli
Testament and Death of MosesLuca Signorelli

These are the masterpieces that cover the southern wall of the Sistine Chapel.

Sistine Chapel Ceiling

The Sistine Chapel ceiling, painted by Michelangelo, is known to be the most famous and renowned piece of art of the Renaissance era.

The frescoes by Michelangelo can be seen on the ceiling and the west wall behind the altar, collectively known as the Sistine ceiling.

This fresco depicts the events and personages from the Old Testament.

The central ceiling showcases the Nine scenes from the Book of Genesis, of which the creation of Adam is the most popular.

The Last judgment by Michelangelo is considered a masterpiece of his art career and is one the most famous paintings in the Sistine chapel.

How to reach Sistine Chapel?

The Sistine Chapel is in Apostolic Palace, located in Vatican City, and is the official residence of the Pope.

It lies at the end of the Vatican Museum and takes around 30 minutes to reach from the entrance of the museum.

There are many transportation options available around the city to reach the Sistine Chapel.

How long does Sistine Chapel take?

It takes three hours to explore the Vatican museum and adore the Sistine chapel painting.

However, if you plan to visit the chapel only, you will need one hour.

30 minutes to reach the Sistine chapel from the entrance, and another 30 minutes to adore the beauty of the chapel.

Sistine Chapel opening hours

Sistine Chapel opening hours
Image: Thesistinechapel.org

The opening hours of the Sistine Chapel are the same as the Vatican Museums.

The Sistine Chapel opens from 9 am to 6 pm from Monday to Saturday.

DaysOpening HourClosing Hour
Monday9 am 6 pm
Tuesday9 am6 pm
Wednesday9 am6 pm
Thursday9 am6 pm
Friday9 am6 pm
Saturday9 am6 pm
Sunday (Except last Sunday of each month)ClosedClosed
Sunday (Last Sunday of the month)9 am2 pm

The Chapel remains closed on Sundays, except for the last Sunday of the month when it opens for five hours from 9 am to 2 pm.

The Chapel remains closed on the 1, 6, 11, 19, and 22 of January and 28 February, 29 June, 15 August, 1 November, and 8 and 26 December.

Best time to visit Sistine Chapel

Best time to visit Sistine Chapel
Image: Thesistinechapel.org

The best time to visit the Chapel would be as soon as it opens at 9 am, as you’ll encounter less crowd at this time.

However, if you are not an early bird, you should visit the Chapel between 1.30 pm to 6.30 pm.

Book Vatican tickets online in advance and save yourself the hassle of wasting hours standing in ticket counter lines.

Sistine Chapel tickets

As the Chapel lies at the end of the Vatican Museums, you will have to buy tickets for Vatican Museum to get to the chapel.

You can buy tickets online or get your tickets from the venue as well.

Buying online tickets will help you skip hours of waiting outside the ticket counter.

Several Sistine Chapel ticket options are available online. These include:

Skip the line ticket

Skip the Line Vatican ticket is the cheapest and most popular way to enter the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel.

Ticket Prices:

Adult ticket (18+ years): €27
Kids ticket (6 to 18 years): €18
Student ticket (18 to 25 years): €18
Kids (Below 6): Free Entry

Note: Students need to show their ID cards to avail of this discount.

Guided tour tickets

Guided Vatican tour are the most recommended tickets so that you do not miss any attractions at the Vatican museum.

Guided tour tickets to the Chapel include a combined tour package to the Vatican museum or St. Peter Basilica.

We recommend getting a three-hour guided Vatican tour to get skip-the-line access to the three most significant sites of the Vatican City, the Vatican museum, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter Basilica.

The price of a guided tour ticket depends on the number of people in a group and the time slot.

For a group of 20 people, prices are €45 per person, while it goes up to €55 for a group of 10 people.

Kids below five can walk in for free.

For a VIP experience, you can book a Guided Vatican tour ticket with a dedicated entrance.

Private Tour

With these Private tour tickets, you will have more time to interact with your guide and learn about the artifacts and their significant ancient values.

These tickets are booked online only; thus, you will save a lot of time by skipping the long queues at the ticket counter.

You should purchase a VIP private Vatican tour ticket when visiting with a large group of friends or family.

Ticket price

Adult (18 to 99 years): €299
Child (6 to 17 years): €99
Infant (up to 5 years): Free

Vatican Night Tour tickets

Vatican Night Tour tickets
Image: Demarfa / Getty Image (Canva)

From April to October, the Vatican Museums offers a three-hour guided night tour from 7 pm to 11 pm. 

The last entry for this night tour is at 9:30 pm, and the tour accepts only 18 people per group.

Last-Minute Vatican tickets

The long queues outside the ticket counter can be horrible if you haven’t booked your tickets in advance.

Last-minute Vatican tickets are the best solution to this situation. 

It costs €34, which is €7 extra than the regular ticket, but it will save you from waiting in long queues.

Ticket price

Adult (18+ years): €34
Child (6 to 17 years): €22
Infant (up to 5 years): Free

Sistine Chapel free entrance 

Sistine chapel offers free entry on the last Sunday of every month.

You can also get a free entry on 27th September, i.e., World Tourism Day.

Due to the free entrance, you will encounter massive crowds on these days.

Sistine chapel dress code

Sistine Chapel has a strict dress code for entry into the premises.

It is advisable to wear clothes that cover the shoulders and knees as a sign of respect.

Sleeveless clothes, shorts, skirts, and even hats are prohibited by the Sistine chapel dress code and are not to be worn inside the premises.

If you are not dressed appropriately, you will be denied entrance into the chapel even if you have Vatican tickets.

If your dress doesn’t go well with the dress code for Vatican and Sistine chapel, don’t worry, we can help you solve this problem.

There are shops all around the city where you can purchase plastic cloaks to cover your knees and shoulders, but they can get uncomfortable during hot weather.

If you are planning a visit to the Vatican Museum, you should learn about the dress code in the Vatican in advance.

Photography inside the Sistine Chapel

Photography and videography are strictly prohibited inside the Sistine Chapel. 

Guards are placed around the premises to ensure that no visitors click photographs.

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Featured Image : Commons.wikimedia.org

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