Discover Michelangelo’s masterpiece in the papal chapel
The Sistine Chapel is home to some of the most fascinating frescoes in the world. Come join visitors from all four corners of the earth in gazing up at the world’s most famous ceiling.
- Rediscover one of the most famous images in Western art: the Creation of Adam
- Explore the lofty heavens and the fiery depths of hell in Michelangelo’s Last Judgment
- Get lost in the details of the chapel’s walls, painted by a team of top Renaissance artists, which include Botticelli and Perugino
Tickets & Prices
Tickets grant you access to the world-famous Sistine Chapel, as well as the many other galleries and collections in the Vatican Museums.
By booking online you’ll avoid the queue – infamous for being the longest in Rome. Use that saved time to spend even longer enjoying the galleries.
Visit the Sistine Chapel with one of these hand-picked tickets.
- Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel (Last Minute) – Escorted entrance and unlimited time inside the Vatican Museums.
- Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel (Skip The Line) – Skip past the long lines and get quick access to both the Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel.
- Rome Tourist Card (Bestseller) – See the best of Rome with this popular combi-ticket. Includes access to The Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica (official guided tour), and more…
- The Vatican City Pass – Explore the best of the Vatican City. Includes access to St. Peter’s Basilica (official guided tour), Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel (last-minute tickets), and more…
A few things to keep in mind:
- Book your time slot online and arrive at least 15 minutes before your designated time.
- The tickets will arrive in your email which you can then show either printed out or in digital form.
- Discounted tickets for children aged 12-17 and students up to 25 years old (with a valid student ID).
- Optional audio guides are available, for an additional fee, in Italian, English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, or Russian.
Rome Tourist Card
Get this nifty card and enjoy skip-the-line access to the collections of the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel.
With the same pass, you can also enjoy visiting other famous Roman attractions, such as a guided tour of St. Peter’s Basilica; an audio guide of the Pantheon; and priority entrance to the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill.
Additional Ticket Information:
- Includes an audio guide in 10 languages, plus a guide to the city of Rome.
- Select your visit dates online and receive tickets by email. Arrive at least 15 minutes before your designated time.
The Vatican City Pass
Discover the holiest country in the world with this handy pass. Simply book your visit dates online and receive tickets by email. Valid for three days from the starting date.
- Skip-the-line access to the collections of the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel.
- Guided tour of St. Peter’s Basilica with an official Vatican guide.
- Rome: City Audio Guide App with over 130 hotspots to discover.
Additional Ticket Information:
- Big bags and suitcases are not allowed inside. You can leave them in the on-site lockers
- Shoulders and knees must be covered
- Photos and videos are strictly forbidden inside the Sistine Chapel
What to see and do
The Sistine Chapel is usually one of the last stops on a visit to the Vatican Museums. Once inside the museums, however, you can take the long route or the short route to arrive at the Chapel.
Michelangelo’s ceiling frescoes are the highlight of any visit to the Chapel. The nine colorful panels depict stories from the Book of Genesis. Three portray the Creation of the World, three show the stories of Adam and Eve, and three represent scenes from the life of Noah.
In the very center is the most famous panel: The Creation of Adam, which shows God reaching an outstretched hand towards Adam, thus bringing him to life. Even if you know nothing about art, you’ll be sure to recognize this image!
Another element of interest is the alternating figures of either prophets or sibyls (female prophets) found in Classical myths that are painted on the sides of the main panels. There are also 20 male nudes, surrounding the center panels, which are known as the ignudi.
The Last Judgment
Equally impressive is this gigantic fresco which covers the Western wall above the altar. Also painted by Michelangelo, it depicts the moment of judgment by Christ of all of humanity, and portrays over 300 figures! On the left, the saved are ascending to heaven, while on the right, the damned are being dragged down to hell.
Jesus is the biggest and most central figure, and he’s surrounded by the apostles and various saints, many holding symbols of their martyrdom or sainthood. Saint Bartholomew is holding his own flayed skin, whose face many say is a self-portrait of Michelangelo himself!
The Other Chapel Walls
The remaining chapel walls are also magnificent to look at. A whole host of notable Renaissance artists were commissioned to paint them, including Botticelli, Perugino, Ghirlandaio, and Signorelli.
On the North wall are depicted scenes from the life of Christ, whereas the South wall is decorated with the Stories of Moses. The Eastern wall shows the Resurrection of Christ and the Disputation over Moses’ Body.
Did you know that: (5 Interesting facts!)
- Michelangelo initially didn’t even want to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, because he considered himself a sculptor and not a painter. He was eventually persuaded to accept by Pope Julius II.
- Biagio de Cesena, the papal master of ceremonies, was a harsh critic of the Last Judgment’s composition, so Michelangelo painted him into it as Minos, the supervisor of the damned into hell. He’s the one with donkey ears!
- It took four years for Michelangelo to complete the ceiling, and the experience was so unpleasant that he wrote a poem about his physical discomfort.
- The nudes in the Last Judgment were considered improper for a papal commission, so Pope Pius IV ordered many of them to be covered up with strategically placed cloths. Luckily, that was mostly undone during later restoration work.
- Michelangelo was much more adept at painting the male body rather than the female. In fact, the few female figures represented are considered by many to be quite ‘manly’.
- Pope Sixtus IV, from whom the Sistine Chapel gets its name, had it built between 1473 and 1481. It was originally called the Cappella Magna (‘Great Chapel’). It served as a place of religious and functionary papal activity.
- He also commissioned a team of great Renaissance artists to paint the walls, which they finished in 1482.
- In 1483, Sixtus IV celebrated the first mass there, at which the chapel was consecrated and dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
- It wasn’t until 1508 that Michelangelo Buonarroti was commissioned to paint the ceiling, under the patronage of a new pope: Julius II.
- A further 22 years passed before Michelangelo returned to paint the Last Judgment, under the patronage of Popes Clement VII and Paul III.
- In the 1980s, major restoration work began on the artworks in the chapel and many of Michelangelo’s figures were finally returned to their nude selves.
- Today, apart from being an extremely popular tourist destination, the chapel still serves as the venue for the papal conclave, the process by which a new pope is elected.
The Sistine Chapel is located in the Vatican City of Rome.
It took Michelangelo 4 years to paint the Sistine Chapel.
It took Michelangelo 4 years to paint the Sistine Chapel due to the scale of the task and his reluctance to do it. Not only was it physically taxing but also permanently damaged his eyesight.
Michelangelo was paid around 3000 ducats for painting the Sistine Chapel.
Map & Directions (Location)
The Sistine Chapel is located inside the Vatican Museums. The entrance to the museums is on Viale Vaticano, which is in the north of the city center. It’s easily accessible by public transport.
Metro: Line A, stops ‘Ottaviano’ or ‘Cipro’
Bus: 49 – stops in the square in front of the museums
32, 81, 982 – Piazza del Risorgimento
492, 990 – Via Leone IV / Via degli Scipioni
Tram: 19 – Piazza del Risorgimento
Train: San Pietro
Address: Sistine Chapel, , 00120 Vatican City, Vatican City · view larger map