We recently returned from a wonderful trip to Italy. Unquestionably, our visit to the Sistine Chapel was the worst part of the trip. One cant just visit the chapel> You need to buy a ticket for the entire Vatican Museum. We didnt mind this so much as it seemed that there would be other great things to see there including the Lacoon sculpture.
When you enter the Vatican complex, there are signs everywhere which appear to point the way to the Sistine Chapel. In fact, if you follow the signs, you are led in a huge mob through rooms and rooms of the Museum (where you see almost nothing due to the crowds) for hours. Although the guards constantly tell you that you are very near the chapel, it took us 2.5 hours to reach the chapel. The crowding was so intense that people were overcome with heat exhaustion.
We eventually reached the chapel 15 minutes before closing time(the Chapel closes 2 hours befroe the Museum) and gurds in the Chapel barked at us to move further and further to the back of the room. When you leave the room, you are on the street and unable to see the rest of the museum.
Of note- most of the romms of the Museum are totally unguarded and the other works of art are not protected from the surging crowds or potential defacement.
At the end of the visit, we felt totally "had" and misled (by the setup and the guards and their assurances that the Chapel was just ahead). The crowding was so intense that in addtion to the fire hazard, the experince was so unpleasant that most of us would have paid a pretty penny to exit the complex.
Oh yes- and we didnt get a chance to see the chapel....