Sistine Chapel Cantoria

The Cantoria, or choir loft, is a smallish, 8-foot-by-12-foot nook carved into the stone of the chapel wall and dimly illuminated through its original colored glass window. For the first three and a half centuries of the chapel's history (it was built in the 1470s), only singers were allowed to enter the cantoria. One of the things they did in there, aside from music, has only recently come to light: Signatures, hundreds of them, were uncovered during the Vatican's restoration - among them, the only extant signature of the turn-of-the-16th-century composer Josquin. Carved and scratched over several centuries of singing, the signatures now stand as a who's who of the papal choir.

The Cantoria in the Sistine Chapel was adopted by the Washington Patrons in 1999 at a cost of $25,000.