10 Amazing Facts About The Vatican Sistine Chapel

Thursday, 29 Jul 2021 - 2 mins read
by Stefania

One of the most humbling experiences in Rome is standing beneath Michelangelo’s Sistine ceiling. The pure enormity of the work and the impression it leaves upon you is hard to forget. The history of the paintings within the chapel are rife with bickering, jealousy, and betrayal which is why we wanted to put together the Top 10 Vatican Sistine Chapel Facts.

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Check out the Sistine Chapel facts and history below, and then come see the real thing on our Vatican Sistine Chapel at Night Private Tour! You will skip the line and once inside, your art historian guide will transform a vast warehouse into a magical delight crowned by Michelangelo’s breathtaking frescoes in the Sistine Chapel.

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Sistine Chapel Fact #1:

Did you know that the Sistine Chapel was built by a Pope named Pope Sixtus the IV, hence the name Sistine Chapel?

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Sistine Chapel Fact #2:

Did you know that Michelangelo was only 32 years old when he began painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and completed it in only 4 years?

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Sistine Chapel Fact #3:

Did you know that the Sistine Chapel was built to house the Cardinals while they deliberated on who should become the next Pope?

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Sistine Chapel Fact #4:

Did you know that the famous chimney that releases black smoke telling us the Pope has died and white smoke telling us we have a new Pope is set up in the Sistine Chapel? You can see the marks where it sits towards the back right of the chapel.

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Sistine Chapel Fact #5:

Did you know that no artist in history suffered as much as Michelangelo suffered in the 4 years it took him to complete the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel? He suffered with his knees, back and neck and he still managed to live to be 89 years old.

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Sistine Chapel Fact #6:

Did you know that Michelangelo painted the Last Judgement (the front wall of the Sistine Chapel) 28 years after he finished the Sistine ceiling?

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Sistine Chapel Fact #7:

Did you know that Michelangelo’s enemy, Raphael, was originally asked to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel but refused. He suggested Michelangelo knowing he was a sculpture and not a painter.

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Sistine Chapel Fact #8:

Did you know that the Sistine Chapel was completely cleaned between the years 1980 to 1994. It was paid for by the camera company Fuji Film. Fuji Film now own all copyright to the paintings, and that is why there is no photography allowed in the Sistine Chapel.

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Sistine Chapel Fact #9:

Did you know that Pope Julius ll (the Pope that commissioned Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel) sold Indulgences in order to pay Michelangelo for his work? Selling Indulgences meant that people could pay money to get time off Purgatory.

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Sistine Chapel Fact #10:

Did you know that there are 3 Botticelli paintings in the Sistine Chapel, painted 24 years before Michelangelo began the Ceiling?

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Planning on visiting the Vatican?

Probably the number one must-see in Italy, the Vatican Sistine Chapel is a bucket-list item for Rome and it’s not hard to see why. If you’d like to learn more about Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel’s fascinating history, get in touch with our team today.

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