Exploring Sistine Chapel
Sistine Chapel, one destination which is bound to be on the itinerary of every tourist planning a trip to the Vatican.The Sistine Chapel, named after Pope Sixtus IV,who commissioned its construction is a renowned chapel of the Apostolic Palace. Located in the Vatican City, it also happens to be the official residence of the Pope. Tourists are also attracted to it as the Sistine Chapel is renowned for its Renaissance art, especially by painters such as Michelangelo, Boticelli among others. The very fact that five million people visit the chapel in a year, stands testimony to the tremendous popularity of this magnificent construction.
Sistine Chapel stands on the foundation of an older chapel known as the Cappella Magna. Today, its exterior is simple and unassuming, a high, block-like rectangular brick building, with no grand façade and other similar adornments. However, the saying, ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ holds true in this case as the interiors are splendidly decorated.
The construction of Sistine Chapel began in 1477, commissioned by Pope Sixtus, as mentioned earlier. Artists, who are considered to be hallmarks of Renaissance art such as Botticelli and Rosselli, were ordered to decorate the chapel. At this point, the ceiling was painted like a simple blue sky with stars.
It was only in 1503, that the newly appointed pope, Julius II, nephew of Sixtus appointed artist Michelangelo to repaint the ceiling. Thus, took place the creation of the celebrated, Michelangelo frescoes of Sistine Chapel. There’s an interesting anecdote however, that Michelangelo wasn’t very keen on this offer as firstly, he was hard at work sculpting the king’s tomb. Also, because he considered himself a sculptor, not a painter.
Work on the famous Sistine Chapel ceiling began in 1508 and took four years to complete. Michelangelo depicted nine scenes from Genesis, with the most famous panels being “The Creation of Adam” and “The Fall of Man and the Expulsion from Paradise. Twenty years later, he painted “The Last Judgment” ,another crowd puller, behind the altar.
Important Information About Sistine Chapel
• Timings: The Ticket Office is open from 9 am to 4 pm while the museums close at 6 pm. Visitors ought to note that exit from rooms begins half an hour before closing time. The Sistine Chapel is open on all days except Sundays. However, on the last Sunday of every month, free entrance is allowed from 9 am to 12.30 pm. There are a few other days, besides Sunday, on which the Sistine Chapel is closed. The list for the same can be checked on the official website. Visitors are recommended to plan their trip accordingly.
• Entry Fee: The admission ticket to Sistine Chapel costs €16.
• How To Reach: The best option to reach Vatican City, where Sistine Chapel is located, is to first take a flight to Rome, which is well connected via flights to the rest of the world. From here, visitors have the option of taking a taxi, bus, Metro or a tram to the Vatican. It should be kept in mind that tourists are not permitted to drive inside the Vatican without specific permission.
A visit to Sistine Chapel will always remain entrenched in your memories !