The Vatican’s art collection vast, to put it mildly, and definitely something not to be missed even if you don’t have time to soak in every piece. From sculptures to paintings…from unknown artists to masters such as da Vanci, Raphael, and Titian…it’s a feast for the eyes and a bit overwhelming at first. The big attraction is, of course, the Sistine Chapel but I would urge you not to blow past the other pieces just to get there.
We ended up pre-purchasing timed entry tickets for 9:00 AM, which ended up being 9:30 since they were delayed in opening that day for some reason. I had debated whether it was worth paying a bit more for the timed tickets. However since we had relatively limited time on the days set aside for the Vatican, I opted to go that route. The Ron in Rome website has a good article with some pros and cons if you’re not sure what would work best for you:
Photography is not permitted in the Sistine Chapel and it can be crowded…the staff inside periodically have to “shush” the masses to be quiet. So if you’re interested in a quiet, contemplative time in the Chapel, consider seeking out a less busy time of the week or day. I did purchase a nice coffee table book of the Chapel ceiling in the gift shop.
Nevertheless, it was an amazing feeling to be standing there
underneath some of the wonderful frescoes that I had only seen in books. It’s simply beautiful. Over time, soot from candles and lamps had built up a dark coating all over the paintings on the ceiling. When restorations were completed in the 1990s, a few small bits were left in their “dirty” condition in order to illustrate the difference in appearance. I must say, the pre-restored condition was so dark and awful, it appears one would have barely been able to make out any significant detail in most of the works.