Being travel guides, we always advocate putting your heels to the pavement and seeking out art, music and film locations yourself. Flipping through a coffee-table book of Caravaggios naturally pales in comparison to seeing his Contarelli Chapel murals up close and in person. But even we have to admit that one can’t see every worthwhile piece of art or visit every museum or heritage in this all-too-short life. Thank goodness, then, for technologies like the kind of digital photography and 3D mapping software and hardware that created this virtual tour of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel.
Talk about your high-culture ways to waste time at work, the Vatican’s website offers up this zoomable, movable tour of the famous chapel that not only saves you time on planes and lines, but also lets you focus in on details way up in the rafters without risking a nasty case of neck strain (a typical complaint of visitors). Play around a bit: You’ll find that the resolution is impressive and the Holy See’s tech guys did an admirable job of capturing the sense of light and depth necessary to any decent virtual reproduction of the site. The only drawbacks we can find relate to the angelic choral soundtrack provided by the Vatican—nice as it is, it can be a bit grating after a few minutes—and the lingering sense that true 3D imaging, such as we’ve seen in “Avatar”, will soon make this website obsolete. While we look forward to that innovation, we’re just going to waste just a bit more of our valuable time with some coffee, a croissant and this virtual Sistine Chapel. See you there.
If all this dazzling tech doesn’t sate your hunger for beauty, you can always book a trip to Rome and while enjoying the walking tour of Caravaggio’s life offered in our “Art + Travel Europe: Step into the Lives of Five Famous Painters” take a little side trip to:
The Sistine Chapel
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