Boasting the world's most famous ceiling, Rome's Sistine Chapel within the Vatican City is the popes' sacred and private place of worship. Capella Sistina is the most well-known chapel of the Apostolic Palace where the Pope resides in Vatican City. It is famed for its Renaissance architecture and the artworks contained within the walls from some of Italy's most notable artists.
The chapel's name comes from Pope Sixtus IV who commissioned the restoration of the Capella Magna between 1477 and 1480. While the brick exterior is unremarkable, the artworks and decor of the interior are simply breathtaking. The lower walls of the chapel's interior were painted by artists including Botticelli, Perugino and Ghirlandaio who created a series of frescoed panels completed in 1482 depicting the life of Moses on one wall and incidents from Christ's life on another wall. In 1515, Raphael designed a series of 10 tapestries based on the Acts of the Apostles, which were hung on the lower walls in 1519.
Under the patronage of Pope Julius II, Michelangelo was asked to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling - a task that took between 1508 and 1512 to complete. Michelangelo painted over 1,100sqm of the ceiling while lying on scaffolding for support. The vault artworks are a series of nine paintings of 'God's Creation of the World', 'God's Relationship with Mankind' and 'Mankind's Fall From God's Grace', and include the iconic and oft-parodied 'The Creation of Adam' with God's outstretched finger not quite touching Adam's. Between 1537 and 1541, Michelangelo was again tapped to contribute an artwork to the Sistine Chapel - this time by Pope Paul III Farnese. His fresco, 'The Last Judgement', spans the entire wall behind the papal altar.
Entry to the Sistine Chapel is combined with admission to the Vatican Museums for €16 for adults and €8 for kids aged six to 18 years. The closest metro station is Ottaviano and then it's a 25-minute walk around St Peter's Basilica and onto Via Paolo IV to enter Vatican City.