You've no doubt heard of the Vatican's insatiable beauty. One of the gems of Renaissance Architecture around the world, the extensive details throughout St. Peter's Basilica (and Square), the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel are unmatched in artistic intention and execution. It seems as though every inch of free space is ordained with elaborate designs. The ceilings are no different.
Ceiling-watching inside the massive compound that houses the hierarchy of the Catholic Church (and a vast wealth of it's historical and cultural artifacts) could easily turn into a full-fledged sport. Every turn in the long, narrow, tourist-filled hallways reveals another artistic revelation above you: a powerful symbol.
Of course, the most famous of these artistic feats is the mural that completely covers the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel (top, below). When visiting the Vatican Museum (inside which the Sistine Chapel is located), you must complete the ENTIRETY of the tour through the museum in order to make it to the Chapel. There will be signs every 300m notifying you of it's direction, but don't be fooled: you can not simply get there to see it first, then go through the entire museum afterward. The Chapel is the climax of an artistic and cultural narrative, told from ceiling-to-ceiling, so you might as well enjoy the ride along the way.
The Sistine Chapel is well worth the wait, however, and the massive task that Michelangelo undertook to complete it is astonishing. The finished product had it's share of critics, although they were almost exclusively featured in it with an unflattering composition (or perhaps even donkey ears *cough*Biagio de Cesena*cough*). Taking the critics at face-value, it's generally considered one of the most impressive artistic works in history. Easy to see why.
We've put together a collection of some of our favorite ceiling designs throughout the grounds. Believe it when we say, it could very easily take months to go through the entirety of the Vatican's hallways, but we would be over the moon if we ever got the chance (looking at you over there, Pope Francis). Enjoy.