Tuesday, August 27, 2019

200 Reviews of Rome: The Sistene Chapel

Name of Museum: 

The Sistine Chapel (Part of The Vatican Museums, but reviewed here as a specific element just because I'm feeling like it).

Overall rating (not a strict average of the below) out of 100:

85! Yes, I'm aware this rating is insane!


9-4 M through Sa. plus other expensive, dedicated visits by arrangement. Closed for awhile after Popes die.
Not bad for Rome, 3 stars.

Quality of building architecture: 

Fine, bland, old, and you are unlikely to be able to see it unless you're in a helicopter because it's positively crammed in with the Vatican buildings. That said, it's in Rome. Everything is pretty in Rome!
3 stars.

Quality of interior design and display:

This gets complicated. It's all pretty bare and barnlike except some dead guys painted stuff over all the walls, and especially on the ceiling, which must have been really hard, and some of these paintings turn out to be the among the most brilliant painting ever created. This is where a conflicted rating for the place comes in. Like, the ceiling paintings are amazing, and yet viewable only in crowds with yelling guards, from a terrible angle, and at too great a distance. The best way to enjoy it I think would be to become a Cardinal and wait for a Pope to die.
4 stars.

General location in the World:

Rome. Rome, Rome, Rome, bella Roma.
5 stars

More specific location in city:

Vatican City is easy to get to. It can be an interesting neighborhood of Rome, though a lot of it is either crowded, requires a wait in line to access, involves tedious airport check like security, and involves running a carnival gauntlet of bric a brac vendors, but I'm being a bit jaded. I mean, another way of looking at the Sistene Ceiling location is that it's in the same area as the Vatican Museums, since it's just a part of it, and that museum holds possibly the single greatest painting I've ever seen, Caravaggio's The Deposition, among not a few other treasures of the human soul. 
3 stars

Cost and entrance fees:

17 Euros. Free to Catholics.
Naw, I'm just messing with you. 17 Euros even to Catholics. So I will continue to be an atheist. Well, a pantheathiest. Well, more of a polypantheatheist. And alas, I don't think there's a discount for that either.
2 stars.

Ease of access:

Complicated, sucky, full of lines and security and vaguely complicated optional reservation systems and scamming bookers. I can't entirely blame them for all of this though. It's a popular... thing! You can have a nice walk there though.
2 stars

Best work:

Vocation of the Apostles by Ghirlandaio. Okay, I'm kidding, but it's not like the other frescoes are bad or something what with Botticelli and the like. And one could make a legit preference for Michelangelo's later Last Judgement on the back wall, which is, at least, easier to see. Still, I don't buy it, in the end it's the Sistene ceiling that's the best, and it's really really good. Really good. Good. Really something. If only I could get a good look. I brought binoculars. It didn't help much. And it turns out you're not allowed to lie on the floor. Sorry. They let me do that in the Barberini!
5 stars.

Signature collection:

Naturally it's the frescoes of Michelangelo, who complained the whole time he was painting them that he's a sculptor! And, weird thing, he is! This ceiling stuff is gorgeous, especially, alas, in pictures, but the sculpture, oh lord, though, sorry, none of that is in here.  You'll have to pop over to the main church for that.
Nevertheless, 5 stars

Revolving collections and shows:

Nope, none that I know of.
5 stars (because it would be silly if they did).


Noisy, crowded, uncomfortable, disappointing, but not really allowed to be disappointing. Yes you should see it, but if you can resist, I really respect that.
1 star


Power mad, overdressed monsters on their best day. Watch out for their angry staffs!
1 star


You're not even allowed to think about food in there. I guess that's okay. It's not a convivial hangout anyway.
3 stars 

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