Sistine Chapel

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Highlights of the Sistine Chapel

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.

  • Sistine Chapel Ceiling

    1. Sistine Chapel Ceiling

    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.

  • The Creation of Adam

    2. The Creation of Adam

    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.

  • The Last Judgment by Michelangelo

    3. The Last Judgment by Michelangelo

    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.

  • Southern Wall: Story of Moses

    4. Southern Wall: Story of Moses

    See scenes from Moses’s life, including his journey through Egypt, portrayed by the Renaissance greats: Botticelli, Perugino and Rosselli.

  • Northern Wall: Story of Jesus

    5. Northern Wall: Story of Jesus

    The wall to the right of the altar shows scenes from Jesus’s life according to the great Renaissance painters.

Planning Your Visit

  • Why Is the Sistine Chapel Important?

    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!

  • What to Know

    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.

  • Can You Visit the Sistine Chapel on Its Own?

    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.

  • Avoiding the Lines

    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.

Good to know

  • 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.

Other Sightseeing Options in Sistine Chapel

Want to discover all there is to do in Sistine Chapel? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Sistine Chapel

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 102,020 reviews

Really had a great time touring the Vatican. The crowds were very small and our guide Elaine was very knowledgeable and fantastic at pointing out the important exhibits. Everything was very well organized and prepared. Highly recommend it!

We got audio guides, we found there weren’t that many pieces of art with commentary. Maybe going with a guide is better. Loved the halls of marble busts. Enjoyable for Catholics and non-Catholics alike

It was amazing how much knowledge our tour guide Alberto shared with us! He really brought the experience to life! My husband & college age sons all appreciated it.

Tickets were very easy to get. Just follow the instructions on the ticket and you will be fine. There was some queue but it was very fast moving.

A great tour - added so much more to the experience with background on the artists involved. Really brought it to life.