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Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel frescoes are now 500 years old

Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel frescoes are now 500 years old

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Old Nov 2, 12, 4:05 am
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sk3
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Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel frescoes are now 500 years old

Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel frescoes are now 500 years old, and the subject of recent discussion as to what should be done to preserve them:

From the Guardian, Sepember 29th: Vatican in row over 'drunken tourist herds' destroying Sistine Chapel's majesty

From the BBCNews, October 30th: Sistine Chapel ceiling at 500: The Vatican's dilemma

From Discovery News, November 1st: Sistine Chapel at 500 Years: Threatened by Tourism

I sure hope the Vatican does start to limit the numbers allowed in the Sistine Chapel at any given time. It would be respectful not just to the site itself and to the artwork it contains, but also to the pilgrims and travelers who come from all over just to be in that sacred place and to see Michelangelo's masterpiece. I for one would be happy to pay more if it meant I'd be able to experience the place WITHOUT being in a shoulder to shoulder mass of humanity. And if money is the be all and end all, why not split up the visit to the Vatican Museums from the visit to the Sistine Chapel? They could make a profit off of selling you 2 tickets versus just the one. And for those many people who ONLY want to see the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica, now they'd have that option. Just thinking outloud here...

From the Vatican's website here's a link for the virtual tour and other related info for the the Sistine Chapel.

Lastly here's a nice piece written by Agnes Crawford from Understanding Rome, in honor of the frescoes' 500th "birthday":
Jonah, the lynchpin of the Sistine Chapel ceiling

Last edited by sk3; Nov 2, 12 at 4:23 am
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Old Nov 3, 12, 12:28 pm
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Sk3, well said. When I was in Rome 2 years ago, I did 2 tours. One at night and the Sistine Chapel wasn't all that crowded. However, the next day tour was very crowded. You could hardly walk around. Plus, we only got to spend 10 minutes in there before we were asked to move to make room for a new group. I know I could spend several hours in there just to take it all in.
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Old Nov 5, 12, 12:46 am
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Originally Posted by HawaiiTrvlr View Post
Sk3, well said. When I was in Rome 2 years ago, I did 2 tours. One at night and the Sistine Chapel wasn't all that crowded. However, the next day tour was very crowded. You could hardly walk around. Plus, we only got to spend 10 minutes in there before we were asked to move to make room for a new group. I know I could spend several hours in there just to take it all in.
Hello old friend! Thanks for your post.

I've read a lot of people's reports that they too enjoyed their night time visit. It's not offered year round, but to those reading who are interested, be sure to check the Vatican's schedule to see if "Nighttime at the Vatican Museums" is offered for your dates. In the past it was offered from May to July and from September to October, 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

And back to the chapel's "birthday", here's a video posted on Reuters:
Pope marks Sistine Chapel's 500th anniversary (0:47)
Nov. 1 - Pope Benedict holds evening vespers in the Sistine Chapel to mark the 500th anniversary of the room's famed frescoes. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
http://www.reuters.com/video/2012/11...Channel=118065
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Old Nov 5, 12, 2:21 am
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Funny. I didn't notice this article in my own hometown paper and just saw it tweeted by Agnes Crawford in Rome. And she suggests to avoid the crowds "go midweek [in the afternoon] late-nov/early feb".

From the Los Angeles Times, Nov 1: Critic blasts Sistine Chapel's 'drunk cattle'

Or to avoid crowds people can schedule private tours too. For a price most things are possible.
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Old Nov 5, 12, 3:02 am
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Any more information on scheduling a private tour?
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Old Nov 5, 12, 6:21 am
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Private tours of the Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums

Originally Posted by sparkchaser View Post
Any more information on scheduling a private tour?
I've yet to schedule a private tour for myself, it's too cost prohibitive for me, but I have read a lot about them. To me, I like the idea of booking with a specific person, someone you can research and someone you can ask any and all questions prior to booking with them - versus booking with a company where your guide can be any number of people, and where your experience can be more or less a crapshoot depending on who's assigned to you.

Agnes Crawford of Understanding Rome, mentioned up thread, was first brought to my attention in this NY Times article from August 2011: Q&A: Spring Break in Italy? Head to Rome
Here's her website, Understanding Rome, and you can see her bio on the homepage at the bottom. You'll also see that she links that NYTimes article and 2 other articles. And if you check out her blog you can see for yourself the caliber of her expertise.

And here are her TripAdvisor reviews.

And I follow her on Twitter. Which is a strange voyeuristic experience in a way, because I can see her conversations with other classicists and friends, and it does give you a sense of the person. And the impression I've gotten is she's an extremely knowledgeable, very friendly British woman that is a bona fide expert in her field. If my travel budget were to increase I'd book with her in a heartbeat and I do feel very comfortable recommending her.
Dark Rome is a very large company I've read a great deal about, which also gives private tours. I read about them most recently in this article from the Daily Mail, from October 24th: Unlocking the secrets of The Vatican on a private tour of Michelangelo's Sistine Ceiling
Here's their website: Dark Rome

Here's their TripAdvisor reviews: Dark Rome Tours & Walks

I first heard of them last fall on Slowtravel, and did some research then - and I was skeptical of them (my user name on ST is Jady): Dark Rome Tour Company

You'll see I made the same argument that I'd prefer being able to book with an individual versus a huge company - and I also mentioned Agnes Crawford then, as well as suggesting ContextRome.

And here's a more recent thread from Slowtravel, with a postscript from STer/FTer dingo. He too started out a skeptic but ended up greatly enjoying his experience with the guide he was assigned: Dark Rome - Skip the Line:VIP Vatican & Private Sistine Tour
Italy With Us is another choice, who dingo also discusses on that thread above. I've read about them in this article from the Guardian, from January '11: How to have the Vatican all to yourself
Here's the website: Italy With Us

Here are the Tripadvisor reviews
ContextRome is another option. I've taken several of their group tours over the years and I regard this company extremely highly.
Their tour guides are of a very high caliber indeed. In fact the founding member of Scala Reale, Tom Rankin, still leads CR tours - and it was his company that merged with Paul Bennett's company in '04, that then became ContextRome (and the company has since expanded to become ContextTravel incorporating many cities). And Darius Arya, who with Tom Rankin started the American Institute of Roman Culture, also still gives CR tours. Not too shabby in my book. Sure as heck beats someone working off a script).

Here's the link to their Afterhours Vatican Museums Visit
But they offer many other Vatican related tours besides this very costly one, and I believe they will also customize private tours for you.

And here are ContextRome's TripAdvisor reviews
But if it was my money and I wanted a private tour, I still prefer the idea of booking directly with a specific guide, and I'd book with Agnes Crawford. But that's just my 2.

Last edited by sk3; Nov 6, 12 at 1:47 pm Reason: grammar
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Old Nov 6, 12, 3:17 am
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Thanks!
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Old Nov 23, 12, 9:32 pm
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Originally Posted by sk3 View Post
Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel frescoes are now 500 years old, and the subject of recent discussion as to what should be done to preserve them:

From the Guardian, Sepember 29th: Vatican in row over 'drunken tourist herds' destroying Sistine Chapel's majesty

From the BBCNews, October 30th: Sistine Chapel ceiling at 500: The Vatican's dilemma

From Discovery News, November 1st: Sistine Chapel at 500 Years: Threatened by Tourism

I sure hope the Vatican does start to limit the numbers allowed in the Sistine Chapel at any given time. It would be respectful not just to the site itself and to the artwork it contains, but also to the pilgrims and travelers who come from all over just to be in that sacred place and to see Michelangelo's masterpiece.
My bold.
I would be in favor of that too. Many precious sites already have such measure in place. Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper and the Nasrid Palaces in Alhambra come to mind.
Visited the Sistine Chapel 4 times. Most recently last year during "off season". It was wall-to-wall" people. One could hardly move. I managed to snap a few shots inside the chapel. In this trip report, you can see them:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trip-...entures-4.html

Originally Posted by sk3 View Post
Just thinking outloud here...
+1.
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