The Sistine Chapel, Vatican City – UNESCO Site

We were in Vatican City a few years ago but got to the entrance only to find out that they closed 10 minutes before 🙁  This second time around we made sure got there first thing in the morning. The lines are usually hundreds of people long. We made our way past all the halls that were adorned with various paintings, with sculptures lined up along the left and right walls. When we finally made it into the great hall that houses La Chapella Cistina, all the visitors were admonished by the Italiano Polizia to be silent. I guess they thought that a room of a hundred couples, families  and student groups would be capable of silence as they stared in awe at Michelangelo’s masterpieces.

In the center of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is the (small) Creation of Adam painting by Michelangelo. Taken in with the scores of other paintings on the ceiling, it really does look small.  The entire wall (behind the table where the Pope sits) is composed of the Last Judgment painting. This, however, is truly a larger-than-life painting depicting The End. It is absolutely stunning to gaze at. All the remaining paintings on the other 3 walls are done so masterfully that at the beginning one can’t help but be overwhelmed. The angles that the paintings are done with, combined with the frescoes and protrusions on the walls, give the entire ceiling and walls a true 3D feeling to it.

Of course, flash photography is prohibited, due to it’s negative effects on the colors of the paintings. This is true of most places that cares about their property. Even Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Tennessee prohibits flash photography on his bazillion of costumes.  Sadly, the Polizia prohibits ANY and ALL photos and videos. I felt very upset about this regulation. Many people come to the Sistine Chapel as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. To ask not to take a single non-flash picture is tantamount to ridiculous IMHO.

Strangely enough, somehow, several pictures made their way into our camera . I felt obligated to report this demonic possession of our camera to the proper authorities, but we don’t speak enough Italian to explain the situation 🙂

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