Rome is home not to one, but two Sistine Chapels!
The Sistine Chapel that everyone has heard of is was built by Pope Sixtus IV (r. 1471-84), and is famous across the world for its frescoes by Michelangelo. The much less familiar, but no less grand, chapel of the same name is part of the Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore.
The magnificent chapel, which is a veritable church in itself, was designed Domenico Fontana for Pope Sixtus V (r. 1585-90). Decorated with marble panels, statues and stuccoes, it houses the sumptuous tomb of the pontiff, who started his working life as a humble swineherd.
The frescoes celebrate the Virgin Mary and were executed by a team of artists led by Cesare Guerra and Giovanni Nebbia.
In addition to the tomb of Pope Sixtus V, the chapel also contains that of Pope St Pius V (r. 1566-72).
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private and
small-group walking tours
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