You’ll never get to take a photo of the Sistine Chapel, and you’ll probably never get to cross its threshold in person. But now, if you can carve out a few quiet moments in front of your computer, you can take a private tour of the chapel, replete with all the fine art you can handle.

We’re absolutely transfixed by this interactive experience, which brings a 360-degree, zoomable image of the Sistine Chapel to Web users around the world. The chapel is bright and feels almost alive; its walls are bursting with beauty and history; and timeless music washes through your speakers (or headphones or earbuds — you get the idea) as you marvel at one of the most remarkable buildings on Earth.

Zooming in gives you a closer view of the wondrous Sistine Chapel ceiling.

Above: Zooming in gives you a closer view of the wondrous Sistine Chapel ceiling.

Other areas of the Vatican have photo galleries and written information, but nothing comes close to the virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel.

The site, which was brought to our attention via a Hacker News thread, sheds literal light on what is normally a dark and very crowded room where tourists are given a brief amount of time to take in an extraordinary amount of culture. On the other hand, this site gives you as much time as you could ever want to pore over every detail of the Michelangelo-painted walls and ceilings.

We can’t wait to see if more of the Vatican’s fascinating art and architecture will make its way onto the Web — and onto even more immersive virtual reality devices, perhaps.

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