Discover the genius of Michelangelo from home on our virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel
duration 1.5 hour
Join our expert guide Mario live from home and discover the marvels of the Sistine Chapel with our special virtual tour. On this immersive experience you'll learn the story of how the sculptor Michelangelo was reluctant to take on the job of frescoing the Pope’s ceiling, and see for yourself why what he came up with over the course of 4 years of frenzied labour amazed his contemporaries. Gaze on the details of Michelangelo’s awe-inspiring frescoes thanks to high quality videos, photos and reconstructions, as Mario unravels the complex Biblical symbolism of the enormous ceiling. On this in-depth webinar you’ll also learn all about Michelangelo’s herculean and terrifying Last Judgement fresco, as well as the charming Early-Renaissance paintings that adorn the side walls of the chapel. Our live virtual experience is a unique opportunity to discover the secrets of the Sistine Chapel from home - don't miss out!
Hi I'm Mario! Dutch by birth, I married into a Russian family and am the proud father of three Italian boys. I have shared my love for Rome’s history with visitors from around the world for the past 11 years. After receiving my Master of Arts degree in Romance Languages and Cultures, I decided to specialize in guiding Vatican Museum tours. A fully licensed tour guide of Rome, I fill most of the little time I have when I'm not touring with singing, dancing and acting!
The world of travel might be on hold right now, but just because we're all staying at home to help the world overcome a common enemy doesn't mean we have to put our wanderlust on the back burner. Frustrated with not being able to get our travel fix, we decided to transform our award-winning tours into immersive virtual experiences, meaning you can still explore Italy’s spectacular archaeological sites and jaw-dropping museums from the comfort of your own home.
* Please note that the booking times are in US Eastern Standard Time and Rome, Italy CET is 6 hours ahead *
Fun and informative, our virtual tours take the form of online real-time presentations led by our expert guides. Combining videos, high-definition photos and more, our guides will be sharing their wealth of knowledge and experience with you on these interactive walkthroughs of Italy’s most fascinating sites. The live format of our virtual tours means you’ll be able to ask your guide anything you wish, just like on a normal tour. We really believe it's the next best thing to being here!
If you cannot find a scheduled time for our virtual tours that work for you, please contact us directly and we would be delighted to set up a private virtual tour for you and your group!
As a sign of our gratitude to those who are on the front line fighting the Coronavirus, we would be more than happy to invite all first responders, health workers and NHS workers to join our Virtual Tours for free. Please message our office staff directly!
Please note that the proceeds from our online tours go directly to our guides, providing them with a valuable lifeline in these tough times for the world of travel. Thank you for your support!
As the Pope’s private chapel, you might think of the Sistine Chapel as the Vatican Palaces’ inner sanctum – holiness ground zero for the Catholic faith. Ever since it was constructed on the orders of Pope Sixtus IV between 1477 and 1482 to designs by Baccio Pontelli, the Sistine Chapel has played regular host to masses and other religious and official events for the Papal Household. The Sistine Chapel is also where the cardinals of the church gather in absolute secrecy during papal conclaves to elect their latest leader via a private ballot.
Thanks to the magnificent paintings that Michelangelo painted here between 1508-1512 at the behest of Pope Julius II, the Sistine Chapel is also the most recognisable temple of Renaissance art in the world, and for half a millennium has stood as the pre-eminent example of the heights to which humankind can rise in pursuit of artistic perfection. Join Mario to get the full picture!
Michelangelo wasn't only great artist to have left his mark in the Sistine Chapel. Even without his epoch-making intervention, the chapel would still be considered one of the great pilgrimage destinations for art-lovers from all around the world - but instead of Michelangelo visitors would be speaking in hushed tones about Botticelli, Perugino, Rosselli and Ghirlandaio. These were the great masters of the Renaissance that Pope Sixtus IV turned to decorate his new chapel.
You'll learn about these stunning and often overlooked Renaissance masterpieces depicting the lives of Moses and Jesus Christ surmounted by portraits of the popes. Discover the effective propagandistic message being delivered by the scheme - Sixtus’ not so subtle way of re-affirming that it was he whom God had chosen to administer his affairs on earth in imitation of his great forebears.
Michelangelo painted the entire ceiling of the Sistine Chapel between 1508 and 1512 at the behest of Pope Julius II, one of the most important popes of the Italian Renaissance and perhaps its most influential patron of art. Learn about their stormy relationship, and discover how Julius ordered Michelangelo to replace the ceiling’s charming fresco of a starry sky on a blue background with narrative scenes from the book of Genesis.
In four years of furious creative energy, Michelangelo completed a mind-bogglingly complex scheme comprising of 343 figures over the 12,000 square feet of the Chapel’s immense ceiling. Hebrew prophets, pagan sibyls and athletic male nudes, the so-called ignudi, lounge around the fringes of the vault: at the centre is the entire span of the Old Testament Book of Genesis in 9 panels, from God’s primordial Separation of Light and Darkness up to the near-total destruction of the world in the Great Flood and the salvation of Noah’s Ark.
At the very centre of Michelangelo’s epic biblical narrative is the most iconic gesture in the history of art: the trace contact between the fingers of God and Adam that breathes life into the world and sets into motion the long story of humankind.
30 years later, Michelangelo returned to the Sistine Chapel to take on an equally challenging commission. Between 1536 and 1541, pope Clement VII (and later Paul III) prevailed upon the now elderly painter to return to the scene of his greatest triumph and take up his brushes once again. Like a sportsman beseeched to return to the playing field for one last attempt at glory, the wheedling popes convinced Michelangelo to paint for them a truly immense fresco covering the entire altar-wall of the chapel.
At the centre of the massive composition is Christ in the guise of a Judge and seemingly modelled on a monumental ancient sculpture, imperiously damning the souls of the sinful with one hand as his other draws the spirits of the saved upwards towards their eternal abodes in heaven.
Surrounding Christ are the naked bodies of Christian saints and martyrs. A massively muscular St Bartholomew clutches his own lifeless skin, a reference to his being flayed to death by his persecutors. The flaccid fleshy sack conceals an amazing secret self-portrait - the sagging lifeless features are those of none other than Michelangelo himself. Discover the full story on our virtual tour with Mario!