About Castel Sant'Angelo
Nestled on Tiber River’s banks, Castel Sant’Angelo proudly has its name among the most recognized monuments in Rome. This alluring and strategically designed fortress has outbeated the rigorous test of time and stood majestically since its inception. Once built as a mausoleum, the building has catered to a number of purposes over the passage of time.
At the moment, this important building of Rome is home to the National Museum of Castel Sant’Angelo. This world-famous Romanian landmark offers visitors a sneak peek into its glorious history as a mausoleum, secret refuge as a Papal residence, and its dark past as a prison and execution ground.
Castel Sant’Angelo is divided into multiple sections and each part of the building lures visitors with its impressive resource. The different parts of the museum include The Bastions, Passetto di Borgo, Hadrian’s Mausoleum, the Pope’s apartments and the courtyard, Grande Loggia and Giretto, and finally the top terrace. The bastions form the gateway to the huge museum. The Passetto di Borgo happens to be walls forming the connection between Castel Sant’Angelo and Vatican City.
The passage’s entrance is still noticeable and occasionally the passage is opened for visitors during the summer season. The section of Hadrian’s mausoleum and the beautiful apartments of the pope is possible to notice even today from inside the castle. ‘La Grande’ Loggia and ‘Il Giretto’ happen to be the most amazing sections of the building, which are known for the views they offer. The terrace of the structure is considered as the crown of Castel Sant’Angelo, which offers enthralling views of the entire city below. From here, one can see a plethora of iconic architectural wonders of Rome, including St. Peter’s Basilica.
How to Reach Castel Sant'Angelo
Castel Sant’Angelo is located at an approximate distance of 92 kilometers from Rome Airport (FCO), which happens to be the nearest airport to the monument. There are many ways to reach the castle from the airport:
- By Bus
- By Train
Best Time to Visit Castel Sant'Angelo
The most ideal time for visiting Castel Sant’Angelo is from September to March. Here is a season-wise weather description which can help you to plan your visit to the monument better:
- Winters (November to March)
- Fall Season (September to October)
- Summers (April to August)
What Not to Miss at Castel Sant'Angelo
Here are some of the best places to visit at Castle Sant's Angelo:
1. Palazzo di Giustizia
2. St. Angelo Bridge
3. St. Peter’s Basilica
4. Sistine Chapel
Other Essential Information About Castel Sant'Angelo
Location: Lungotevere Castello, 50, 00193 Roma RM, Italy
Castel Sant’Angelo is located on river Tiber’s right bank, at an approximate distance of 1.6 kilometers from Vatican City. This lofty cylindrical building more aptly lies in Parco Adriano, Rome, Italy.
Tickets: The entry fee for visiting Castel Sant’Angelo is:
- 14 euros for adults aged above 25
Opening hours: Castel Sant’Angelo is open for visitors from 9 AM to 7.30 PM, throughout the week. Furthermore, The museum remains closed on New Year’s Day and Christmas Day.
Distance from Nearest Airport: The nearest airport to Castel Sant’Angelo is Rome Airport (FCO), which is located at an approximate distance of 92 kilometers from it.
History of Castel Sant'Angelo
Castel Sant’Angelo was built under the Roman emperor Hadrian between 123 to 139 AD. This building was supposed to serve as a tomb for Hadrian himself as well as his successors and family. After the death of Hadrian in 138 AD, his remains were put here, along with the ashes of his son and wife who also breathed their last in the same year. After this, the remains of all the succeeding Roman emperors were buried in this mausoleum until Emperor Caracalla, who died in 217 AD.
Later, the structure was transformed into a majestic fortress in the fifth century. Further, the fortified walls of the building, its strategic location along river Tiber’s bank, and its proximate distance to Vatican City allowed the papacy to acquire it and take refuge inside it during an emergency. Pope Nicholas III, in the year 1277, got the fortress connected with Vatican City through a corridor known as Passetto di Borgo. This passage then started being used as an excellent escape path from Vatican City to the fortress in times of danger.
Apart from that, Castel Sant’Angelo has also served as a jail during the middle ages. The courtyard of the castle has witnessed a huge number of burnings and executions of prisoners. During their stay at the castle, the prisoners were tortured terribly and sometimes even starved to death.
Architecture of Castel Sant'Angel
The enthralling architecture of Castel Sant’Angelo is definitely a thing to marvel at. Access to this amazing museum takes you up the spiral ramp of 400 meters inside the castle. This ramp leads the visitors to the classic imperial tomb that is basically a tiny square room, which is believed to have sheltered Emperor Hadrian’s ash containing urns. Constructed in 6 levels, the castle has 58 rooms, most of which are now on display to the visitors. The castle has been beautifully decorated with appealing artwork, the majority of which are borrowed from the enchanting collections of Contini Bonacossi and Mario Menotti.
The castle makes for a nice labyrinth consisting of numerous courtyards, frescoed rooms, and stately halls. Upon ascending through the towering castle, the visitors will ultimately arrive at the final narrow stairway, which will take them to the 6th level followed by the amazing rooftop. The rooftop has a small cafe where the visitors can have some quick snacks while enjoying the mesmerizing views of the city.
The construction work for Hadrian’s mausoleum began in 123 AD under the emperor himself and was completed in 139 AD, under Antoninus Pius, the successor of Hadrian.
In the year 1277, this fortress was taken up by the papacy and the pope used the structure as a strong refuge when in danger.
Tips for visiting Castel Sant'Angelo
- If you are planning to visit Castel Sant’Angelo during the summer season, pay a visit to the place right before sunset in order to witness the spectacular sunset sight from the rooftop terrace.
- Avoid visiting the castle on the month’s first Sunday. The place is almost brimming with visitors as there is no entry fee for visiting Castel Sant’Angelo on this day.