Things to do in Rome

Your ultimate guide to exploring the Sistine Chapel in Rome

Last Updated:

One of the most revered tourist attractions in Vatican City and even the world, the Sistine Chapel is a chapel in the Apostolic Palace. The papal chapel has tremendous religious significance and is the place where popes are crowned. The beautiful papal chapel was designed by architect Giovanni of Dolce but more than the actual building, what makes Sistine Chapel a remarkable landmark are the frescoes that dot the walls and the ceiling. The frescoes have been created by an enviable group of renowned artists including Luca, Michelangelo, Perugino, and Botticelli. Your trip to the beautiful Sistine Chapel will be a part of a tour of the legendary Vatican Museum which is amongst the most loved landmarks in the world.

Sistine Chapel in a Nutshell

Sistine Chapel
Sistine Chapel
Sistine Chapel

Sistine Chapel - Things to know

Best time to visit - Early morning or early afternoon
Suggested duration - 2.5 Hours
Starting Sistine Chapel Tickets price - €14.5
Constructed in - 1473
Closest metro station - Ottaviano-S. Pietro - Line A

Sistine Chapel Opening Hours

• Monday - Saturday: 09:00 AM to 06:00 PM
(Ticket office closes at 04:00 PM)
• Sunday - Closed
• Last Sunday of each month: 09:00 AM to 02:00 PM
(Ticket office closes at midday, 12:30 PM)

Must-see at Sistine Chapel

The Ceiling
The Last Judgement Frescoe
North Wall
South Wall

Sistine Chapel Address

Viale Vaticano,
00165 Rome, Italy
Get Directions

Why should you visit Sistine Chapel?

  • Majestic Masterpieces: The Sistine Chapel is adorned with Michelangelo's awe-inspiring frescoes. The art housed here is among the masterpieces of the Renaissance!
  • Historical Tapestry: Immerse in centuries of rich history and culture. The Sistine Chapel has hosted countless papal ceremonies, and thus holds a significant value in Catholicism.

Sistine Chapel Tickets

Sistine Chapel History


The Sistine Chapel's name comes from that of Pope Sixtus IV, who commissioned its construction the late 15th century. Its iconic ceiling, painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512, remains one of the most renowned pieces of art. The frescoes on the ceiling depict scenes from the Book of Genesis, including the famous "Creation of Adam." Over the centuries, the Sistine Chapel has witnessed numerous papal ceremonies and gatherings, making it an integral part of Vatican history and an essential pilgrimage site for art enthusiasts and spiritual seekers alike. Its enduring beauty and cultural significance continue to captivate visitors from around the world.

What To See At The Sistine Chapel

#1 The Ceiling

The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is made of nine panels that depict The Creation of the World, The Expulsion of Adam and Eve, and The Story of Noah. Of the nine panels, the most impressive is believed to be The Creation of Adam which shows God’s figure touching Adam’s fingertip to bring him to life. The panel showing Fall from Grace and Expulsion from the Garden of Eden is also a sight to behold as it shows Adam and Eve eating the forbidden apple and then leaving the Garden of Eden. Another feature that will capture your attention would be the images of sibyls and prophets painted by Michelangelo on the sides of central panels.

#2 The Last Judgement Frescoe

Sistine Chapel - rome

Michelangelo’s most famous work, fresco of The Last Judgement is painted above the altar of the Chapel. The gruesome composition depicts hell as described by Dante in Divine Comedy. The image of a vengeful Christ is central to the painting and it is surrounded by nude figures of apostles and saints. The massive fresco that took the renowned artist four years to complete, is divided into blessed souls on the left and the damned on the right. don’t miss the flayed body of Saint Bartholomew which has Michelangelo’s face on it.

#3 The Walls of Sistine Chapel

Sistine Chapel - rome

South Wall

  1. Perugino with his depiction of Moses’ Journey Through Egypt
  2. Botticelli, who painted scenes from the life of Moses before his journey through Egypt, and The Punishment of Korah, Dathan, and Abram
  3. Rosselli and d’Antonio, who painted crossing of the Red Sea
  4. Luca Signorelli, who painted Moses’ Final Acts and Death

North Wall

  1. Perugino, who painted The Baptism of Jesus and the scene showing Handing of Keys to Saint Peter
  2. Botticelli, who brought to life The Temptation of Jesus
  3. Rosselli, who depicted The Sermon and The Last Supper
  4. Ghirlandaio created The Calling of the First Disciples

Opening Hours

From Monday to Saturday
9.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m. (last entry at 4.00 p.m.)

Every last Sunday of the month ( other than public holidays)
9.00 a.m. – 2.00 p.m. (last entry at12.30 p.m.) Free entry

Getting There


The Rome Metro has a station just outside the Vatican walls at Ottaviano-S. Pietro. Line A direction Battistini, Ottaviano or Cipro stations of the Metro has trains running every few minutes. It's a 5 minute walk from the Metro to both St Peter's Square and the Vatican Museums.


49, stop in the square in front of the Vatican Museums
32, 81, 982, stop at Piazza del Risorgimento
492, 990, stop in Via Leone IV / Via degli Scipion

Best Time to Visit the Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel is a part of the Vatican Museums, which happen to be amongst the most popular tourist landmarks around the world. To avoid crowds and enjoy a relaxed hassle-free experience exploring everything Vatican, you should arrive at the venue as early as possible. The Vatican Museum opens for visitors at 9:00 AM but you can pay a small amount and opt for a pre-entry ticket that gets you inside the museums at 7:30 AM. While it’s more expensive than a regular entry ticket, your experience inside will be more than worth the extra dollars you pay. By entering the museums as early as possible, you can enjoy a relatively quiet experience and take your time admiring the various pieces of art on display. With a pre-entry ticket, you’ll also get an audio guide for a more enlightening and immersive experience exploring the Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums in all their glory.

london bucket list

The Best Time to Visit Rome - The Ultimate Month on Month Guide

Trying to figure out when to visit Rome? Get a detailed look into the best time to visit Rome and figure out when to plan your trip in a way that best suits your needs!

Tips to Avoid the Crowds at the Sistine Chapel

  • While entering the Vatican Museums, you’ll pass through the metal detector, so be mindful of what you're carrying!
  • No eatables or drinking items are allowed inside the Vatican Museums including the Sistine Chapel.
  • If you’ve some luggage with you, make use of the free cloakroom service to store all your bags and packages since they won’t be allowed inside the museums. This also includes tripods, umbrellas, and other similar items.
  • While inside the Sistine Chapel, maintain a safe distance from the walls and artwork; you're not allowed to touch any of it.
  • Except for guide dogs for the partially sighted or blind visitors, no animals or pets are allowed inside the museums. If you’re bringing a guide dog, inform the museum authority at least a day in advance.

Sistine Chapel Facts You Probably Didn’t Know

  • Pope Sixtus IV invested money into building the Sistine Chapel and ensured it shared a similar layout as the Temple of Solomon as described in the Old Testament.
  • The chapel is named after Pope Sixtus IV who commissioned the construction in 1477 on the foundations of the Cappella Magna.
  • Before Michelangelo worked his magic on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, it featured a fresco painted by Umbrian artist Piero Matteo d’Amelia and features a blue night sky with glimmering gold stars.
  • The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel measures around 5800 square feet, making it a little larger than a professional basketball field.
  • Michelangelo fancied himself a sculptor and did not agree to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel easily. It was with a lot of displeasure that we began work on the ceiling. In 1509, he even wrote a poem addressed to his friend Giovanni da Pistoia complaining about the physical stress of the work and how he had grown a goiter from this torture’.
  • While many people believed that Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel ceiling on his back, he had put together the scaffolding that allowed him to paint standing up, which ensured great control and precision over the painting.
  • While Michelangelo’s work on the Sistine Chapel is arguably its USP, he is not the only artist to be featured in the chapel walls. You can also enjoy paintings and frescoes by many other Florentine Renaissance artists including Sandro Botticelli, Pietro Perugino, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Cosimo Roselli, and many others.
  • It took Michelangelo four years to finish the fresco and he left God until last, wanting to have refined his technique enough to depict him perfectly. Michelangelo took four years to complete the fresco and painted God at last since he wanted to refine his skills and depict him as perfectly as possible. Michelangelo’s version of God painted as an older man with flowing gray hair, inspired centuries of Christian paintings and over time became the archetypal representation of God in all media.

Restaurants around Sistine Chapel

sistine Chapel
Il Sorpasso

Enjoy top-quality Italian food with creativity and presentation generally reserved for high-end restaurants. Visit Il Sorpasso for a delicious meal that doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket.

sistine chapel
Il Gatto E L’Uva

Craving a charming outdoor lunch or dinner? Head over to Il Gatto E L’Uva and gorge on their scrumptious and well-presented dishes mostly featuring seafood.

sistine chapel rome
La Zanzara

Savour flavorsome dishes like a traditional Italian eggplant parmigiana without pasta, salads, a fine selection of meat, and delicious homemade pasta at La Zanzara.

La Pergola

Considered a premier institution of Italian dining, La Pergola is a three-star Michelin-rated restaurant that has continuously wowed local and tourists alike year after year.

sistine chapel
Pompi Tiramisù

Looking for some authentic tiramisu in Rome? Pompi Tiramisùi the perfect spot to satiate your desserts craving. Their tiramisu is amongst the best in the area and they also serve a variety of other local sweet treats.

Places to Stay Near the Sistine Chapel

Things to Do Near the Sistine Chapel

Frequently Asked Questions about Sistine Chapel

Where is the Sistine Chapel located?

The Sistine Chapel is located inside the Vatican Museums located on the right if we look at St. Peter's Basilica from St Peter's Square in Vatican City. 

How long does it take to see the Vatican and Sistine Chapel?

It takes at least 3 hours to see the best of the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. This is excluding the time taken to get there and ticketing queues. So, make sure you purchase a Sistine Chapel ticket in advance.

Can you just go to the Sistine Chapel?

No, you cannot visit the Sistine Chapel on its own. The Sistine Chapel is part of the Vatican Museums and as such, can only be entered through the Vatican Museums.

Is the Sistine Chapel open on Sundays?

No, the Sistine Chapel is closed on Sunday except the last Sunday of each month when it’s open from 9 AM to 2 PM.

Do I need to book tickets for Sistine Chapel?

No, there is no dedicated ticket that allows you to enter just the Sistine Chapel. You need to buy Vatican Museum tickets and at a minimum, go through the main galleries of the museums to reach the Sistine Chapel at the end. 

Why is it illegal to take pictures of the Sistine Chapel?

It’s illegal to take pictures of the Sistine Chapel since the flashes from cameras can be harmful to the artwork.

Is St Peter's Basilica the same as the Sistine Chapel?

No, St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel are two very unique landmarks. The Sistine Chapel is located inside the Vatican Museums while St. Peter's Basilica is located at St Peter's Square and holds the honor of being the world’s largest church.

Can you wear jeans to the Vatican?

Yes, you can wear jeans that cover your legs. The Vatican Museums feature a strict dress code and you’re advised to be as covered up and modest as possible.

What are the most famous frescoes in the Sistine Chapel?

The two most frescoes in the Sistine Chapel are the Creation of Adam and the Fall of Adam and Eve/Expulsion from the Garden, both created by Michelangelo.

What technique did Michelangelo use to paint the Sistine Chapel?

Michelangelo used a fresco technique to paint the Sistine Chapel. The process involves the application of washes of paint to wet plaster. To create the illusion of depth, Michelangelo would scrape off some of the wet medium before painting.

Sistine Chapel Guide