online reservation through the Vatican Museums' website. Go through the steps on the website, put in your email address, and print out the voucher that will be emailed to you. If you check the FAQs, you will see that you can only reserve a certain entry time and that you cannot change or refund your ticket. Make sure that you select the time and date that will work for you. I would recommend checking a couple days in advance to make sure that you get the entry time and date that you want. For example, right as I was filling out the first page of information, the 10:30am time-slot I had selected sold out and I had to move to the 11:30am time-slot (the only other one available for that day).
maps posted around the Museum path which is helpful, but you can also check out the route online if you need to move a little quicker.
Before arriving at the Sistine Chapel, you will also pass through the Galleria degli Arazzi full of fine tapestries and a beautifully ornate ceiling, the Galleria delle Carte Geografiche with ancient maps, and then you arrive at the Museo Pio Clementino which houses my favorite statue in the Vatican Museums - Laocoön and his Sons.
Lion of Luzern (Lowendenkmal), you can feel Laocoön's pain and anguish in the tragic events unfolding. You feel the movement of the serpents as Laocoön and his sons struggle against their grip. Even though it is solid stone, you feel Laocoön's silent screams.
Unfortunately, like everywhere else in Rome, the Chapel was so packed full of people that it was hard to appreciate the majesty of Michelangelo's masterpiece. I thought that the scene of God putting life into Adam with hands outstretched might have been larger, but in reality, it is only one piece of the entire ceiling, full of other impressive paintings and biblical illustrations. Given all the detail and the height alone of the ceiling, it is amazing to me that it only took Michelangelo four years to paint it (from about 1508-1512, when he was in his early to mid 30's).
|An accurate portrait of the artist, I believe...|
Michelangelo was originally commissioned to paint the Twelve Apostles on the triangular pendentives that support the ceiling and then cover the central part of the ceiling with ornament. Michelangelo instead convinced Pope Julius to give him free reign in the project and this allowed him to create a more complex scheme representing Creation, the Fall of Man, Promise of Salvation through the Prophets, and the genealogy of Jesus. This work is part of a larger decorative scheme within the Chapel that represents some of the most important doctrines of the Catholic Church.
|Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel|