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Sistine Chapel, Città del Vaticano
The Sistine Chapel
The Sistine Chapel – Cappella Sistina in Italian – takes its name from the man who commissioned it, Pope Sixtus IV.
His chapel, built between 1475 and 1481 had the same dimensions, as described in the Old Testament, as the Temple of Solomon on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. Absolute measurements for the high rectangular building are hard to ascertain, while there are available measurements for the interior: 40.9 metres (134 ft) long by 13.4 metres (44 ft) wide. Its exterior, unlike the rich interior, is unadorned by architectural or decorative details, as is common in many of the Medieval and Renaissance churches of Italy.
The Cappella Sistina served then as now, as the pope’s private chapel.
A screen, infact divides the chapel about two-thirds down to separate the pope and his entourage from pilgrims and the rest of any congregation.
Sisto conducted the first Mass in the chapel on August 15th 1483.
The Chapel is one of the most famous cultural and artistic treasures of the Vatican City.
Twenty-thousand visitors pour through the Chapel’s doors every day; more than five million a year who come from all over the world to cherish the site of the Papal Conclave, the process by which a new Pope is selected.
In 1978, Karol Wojtyla (John Paul II) was the first non-Italian pope to be elected by a conclave in 455 years.
The chapel’s paintings cover 12,000 sq ft and offer an incomparable sight.
It is most famous for Michelangelo’s frescoes, but long before Michelangelo, Sisto commissioned painters such as Botticelli to fresco the two long walls of the chapel: one side told the story of Moses, the other the story of Christ. Even without Michelangelo’s work, these earlier paintings still represent one of Europe’s greatest fresco cycles. But Michelangelo’s incredibly famous frescoes have been described as one of the world’s supreme sights. Scene after scene, some of the Old Testament’s most powerful stories are unfold. At the centre of this vast work is one of the best known images in Western art; the depiction of God reaching out to touch Adam into life. The painting underwent several restorations for which scholars debated whether or not to remove additions to the fresco. Finally they decided to keep only some additions, the “Last Judgment” frescoes repainted in 1565 by one of Michelangelo’s pupils, Daniele Da Volterra, considering them part of the fresco’s life-story. The Sistine Chapel accurate restoration was done between 1980 and 1994 by a group of experts from the Vatican Museums, When the Chapel was re-opened on April 8th 1994, the recently canonized John Paul II said during the mass: “the Sistine Chapel is really the temple of the human body’s divinity”, “it bears witness to mankind’s beauty as created by God, male and female, in this beauty, Christ expressed the whole mistery of the visibility of the invisible.”
Vatican Semi-Private Tour
Visit the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica in a group no larger than 12. A qualified expert guide will lead you on a 3-hour tour to see the masterpieces that no Rome visitor should ever miss. Once inside the Museum you’ll follow a carefully crafted route that takes you to the most important sights in the Vatican Museums, including the Collection of Classical Antiquities, the Gallery of Candelabras, the Gallery of Tapestries, the Gallery of Maps, and the Raphael Rooms. Gaze in awe at the magnificence of the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. You’ll find [...]
Our exclusive early morning tour offers a chance of a lifetime to uncover the secrets hidden within these ancient walls and relish the array of marvels on display before the usual tourist bustle. Our special reservation guarantees priority VIP access before general public admission allowing you to gain an unforgettable experience of one of the world’s most fascinating and visited collections. You will gaze and listen awestruck at every step as your professional art historian takes you back in time along a carefully crafted itinerary comprising the most significant treasures of this remarkable nine-mile-long collection. You will roam through the [...]