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​Sistine Chapel digitised for posterity (in 270,000 images)

And you thought you took a lot of photos on your last trip to Rome.

The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo, painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, has now been digitised.
Lucas Schifres/Getty Images

A photo of the Sistine Chapel doesn't quite do justice to the intricate artworks on the world's most famous ceiling.

But a team of Vatican photographers hopes 270,000 digital images comes close.

The stunning frescos of the Sistine Chapel have been digitised for the first time, as part of a project aimed at capturing and preserving the detail in the artworks for future conservation projects.

A team from the Vatican Museums worked on the projects for months, with photographers shooting until 2 a.m. over 65 nights to create the collection of photographs, Reuters reports. The result is detailed digital images of every corner of the magnificent chapel, from Michelangelo's famed vaulted ceiling to the works of Renaissance masters such as Botticelli and Ghirlandaio.

A joint effort between the Vatican Museums and fine art publisher Scripta Maneant, the images were stitched together to accurately recreate the original, allowing art historians to "know the state of every centimeter of the chapel as it is today" according to former Vatican Museums director Antonio Paolucci.

But it's not just about storing digital files somewhere in the depths of the Vatican. Scripta Maneant has also used the images to make a three-volume set of printed photographs for libraries and collectors, with 1:1 scale recreations of selected artworks, including "The Creation of Adam."

"We used special post-production software to get the depth, intensity, warmth and nuance of colors to an accuracy of 99.9 percent," head of Scripta Maneant Giorgio Armaroli told Reuters.

"Future restorers will use these as their standards."

But when it comes to buying the volumes, you may just be better off buying a ticket to Rome: The set costs a cool 12,000 euros.

That's a coffee table book fit for the pope.