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“Breathtaking!”
Review of Sistine Chapel

Sistine Chapel
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Probably the most famous chapel in the world because of its incredible artwork, notably "The Last Judgment," Michelangelo's stunning fresco covering 10,000 square feet of the ceiling and wall.
Reviewed September 2, 2013

This was one of the highlights of my holiday in Italy.Pre-booked a guided tour so jumped the long queues of people waiting in the baking sun.No bare shoulders,short skirts,shorts or backpacks are allowed in so be careful to dresss appropriately.As a mark of respect you are asked not to talk or take photos while inside the chapel,as it is considered a holy place.It was crowded but I managed to get a seat and spent 20 minutes gazing up at this masterpiece.Nothing prepares you for the granduer of such a spectacle,you simply have to be there to experience it.Many people continued talking and some took pictures which I thought disrespectful.The guards will ask for silence/no photos every few minutes~maybe they would do it less often if people listened to them.All in all,a breathtaking experience.

Thank samsouthwell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"last judgement"
in 153 reviews
"no photography"
in 139 reviews
"no photos allowed"
in 124 reviews
"taking pictures"
in 142 reviews
"michael angelo"
in 121 reviews
"holy place"
in 159 reviews
"bucket list"
in 126 reviews
"guided tour"
in 342 reviews
"once in a lifetime"
in 93 reviews
"awe inspiring"
in 164 reviews
"dress code"
in 113 reviews
"take your time"
in 134 reviews
"skip the line"
in 239 reviews
"in advance"
in 172 reviews
"chapel"
in 3,131 reviews
"ceiling"
in 1,593 reviews
"silence"
in 766 reviews
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8,504 - 8,508 of 17,915 reviews

Reviewed September 1, 2013

The Sistine Chapel was the last stop and the highlight of a wondrous 3-hour Vatican Museum tour. We had a private tour with Rome Illuminated; our guide was Francesca. We came on a Tuesday afternoon at 3 PM, recommended as late afternoons tended to be less crowded. Nevertheless, the Chapel is always crowded, no photography is allowed, modest dress is a requirement (shoulders and knees must be covered for all but young children). Talking is kept to a soft murmur and guards walk around belting out "Silence!" every few minutes.

Michelangelo painted the ceiling frescoes from 1508-1512, when he was in his early 30's. These frescoes replaced original ceilings of gold stars in a blue sky. The surface area is 131 ft x 43 ft. Michelangelo initially declined the commission, but the Pope Julius II made offers he could not refuse.

Although Michelangelo was originally commissioned to paint the twelve apostles, he negotiated to paint scenes of his own choosing. The nine central panels depict stories from Genesis, including the separation of light from darkness, the creation of Adam, the expulsion from Eden, the great flood. Michelangelo painted the latter scenes first (e.g. the Flood), and then, realizing the problem of scale and color, he painted the other scenes with brighter colors and larger figures, so that they were more easily seen from the ground.

The Last Judgment was painted over 30 years later, when Michelangelo was in his sixties. Astonishingly for those days, the artist lived to be 90 years old. So in a way, the Last Judgment can be seen as a late middle age work. The depiction of Christ is influenced by classical Greek sculpture, with the youthful, beautiful head of Christ taken from a sculpture of Apollo. In the bottom right corner you will see the painting of a Michelangelo enemy, with jackass ears, genitals in a serpent's jaws, going to Hell, of course. The frescoes were restored with some controversy from 1984 to 1994---controversial, because they revealed the frescoes to be of much brighter color than previously.

Several masterful frescoes by Botticelli, Perugino, and Roselli decorate the walls. We did not see Raphael's tapestries in the Chapel, but did see a series of tapestries just outside, made in Brussels and depicting the Acts of the Apostles. These are really sublime works of art, dwarfed by the ceiling perhaps, but incomparable for their design, beauty, and workmanship.

Although the frescoes (particular the creation of Adam) are well-known and ubiquitous in pop art, postcards, books, you will never have the same relationship with art until you see it in person. It is unlike any other experience and is unforgettable. You will be profoundly moved.

I am puzzled by the three- and four-star ratings for the Sistine Chapel. I think it's unfair to rate the crowds or the discomfort of the visitor. How the Chapel gets three stars and a hotel gets five stars is ridiculous to me. You have come here to see the apex of Western artistic expression.

Did you expect an empty room?

Thank anonymousfortwayne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 30, 2013

Of all the amazing sights I saw on my trip to Rome this was the highlight. I have seen many photographs over the years but until you step into the chapel and actually stand there looking around you will never be able to grasp the full breathtaking beauty of this masterpiece of a room.
It's not just the ceiling but the frescos round the wall and the overall atmosphere that makes the experience so special. I could not believe just how vibrant the colours are, the ceiling looks like it was painted yesterday.
We visited on a Friday afternoon and there were absolutely no queues but I could imagine it would not be as serene if I was being rushed through.
Remember there is no photography allowed in this chapel and the guards are very strict, also try and stay as quiet as you can or you will be chastised very quickly.
I can not stress enough just how much this has to be part of any visit to Rome.

Thank Bunkle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 29, 2013

So crowded it becomes difficult to see the art work. The Vatican museums provide a beautiful and more spacious environment to experience the wonderful artwork and history of the Vatican

Thank dlber
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 29, 2013

Booked early morning visit to the Sistene Chapel through Dark Rome website. Prepaid voucher process was user friendly and questions were quickly answered. We, a group of 12, met our guide at the Vatican steps at 7:15AM. We were the first tour though security and waited outside the Chapel door until doors opened at 8AM. Our guide briefly explained the Chapel's history and said she was available to answer questions once inside, but advised we would need to seek her out, individually. We had the gift of time and space to enjoy Michelangelo's masterpiece. The room filled within 45 minutes and we were shoulder to shoulder. Highly recommend this early morning tour visit.

1  Thank Virginia L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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