Inside the Sistine Chapel frescoed by Michelangelo Buonarroti the cardinals gather in the conclave to elect the new Pope.

The Sacred College of Cardinals votes several times until the Pope is elected.

Once the Cardinals were literally locked up in the Sistine Chapel until after the election and it could be a problem since in the thirteenth century, it took almost three years to elect the successor of Pope Clement IV.

Today things are different and the cardinals after the votes that take place in the Sistine Chapel, stay a short distance in the nearby House of Santa Maria.

The first conclave celebrated in the Sistine Chapel was in 1492; since 1878 it has been the permanent seat of every conclave.

When the Pope is elected, the crowd of faithful wait in St Peter’s Square to see the smoke: white or black? If it is black it means that the Cardinals have not yet elected the Pope. Smoked white if Habemus Papam.

The Conclave during which the Pope is elected in the Sistine Chapel

Book now