The ins and outs of a Sistine Chapel tour

Pristine Sistine

It's one of the tackiest tour descriptions i've ever had the misfortune to stumble upon. Sistine Chapel tours are sacrosanct, which includes nomenclature. No glitz, no glamour, no Silly names.

What can one expect from a tour of the Sistine Chapel? Time alone and undisturbed to fully appreciate the major works of art therein? It's possible, but the experience will set you back at least €250, more likely €350. One murky corner of Rome tourism online expects €2,500! VIP Vatican tours gone mad? Most assuredly, absurdly, yes indeedy.

Everyone must abide by a strict rule of absolute silence inside the Sistine Chapel, although it remains to be seen if VIP private tours include a priggish Vatican official whispering "Sssshhh" every half minute.

Vatican tour guides who lead regular private and small group Sistine Chapel tours are obliged to provide a detailed description and explanation before entering. Questions must be answered outside. Anyone caught in the act of conversation inside will be told to button up in person by security, or reminded of the rules by a crackly and perhaps unintentionally brusque public address system in at least four languages. It's draconian, Vatican officials take themselves very seriously so prepare to be silenced if you speak out! It is said that even praying is frowned upon. Some days are of course stricter than others, i've seen as many miniskirts and photographic free-for-alls in the Sistine Chapel as snap happy fashion victims being led to the exit.

Enforcement of the photography ban is random, smartphone owners tend to watch what other smartphone owners are doing before taking the plunge. Have you ever wondered why there is a dearth of decent Sistine Chapel pix taken by tourists? Now you know. Many tourists are accomplished photographers and they travel to the Vatican City from far and wide to shoot the experience. It would engender improved customer relations to make some kind of Sistine Chapel photo pass available to purchase on the Vatican website, but sensible ideas don't get very far in the maelstrom of Vatican bureaucracy.

Sistine Chapel dress code: no skateboard helmets, no bare shoulders, no knees.

Published on June 2nd, 2014
© When In Rome Tours, article provided by Cajes.

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