Castel Sant'Angelo, Rome Overview

Castel Sant'Angelo, also called The Mausoleum of Hadrian, has served as a fortress, a mausoleum, a hideaway and a museum in different periods of history. Located in Parco Adriano region of the capital city of Rome, this cylindrical monument is one of the most popular landmarks of the country. The building has been a part of Roman History for different purposes and has seen the transformation of this huge empire. A visit to Castel Sant'Angelo will prove to be a different experience altogether and will leave you in awe of its architecture, its history and the thousands of lives that were lost in battle on the same ground. The most famous feature of this monument is a terrace that offers a stunning view of the whole city with a cute little aesthetic cafe that remains crowded at all times.

The monument consists of five floors that can be accessed by a spiral ramp. The first floor includes a long hall of ashes of the great rulers that served the empire and lost their lives during the battles. There are also cells that acted as a prison for various enemies of the state. As we go to the upper floors of the monument, we see a beautiful arrangement of paintings and frescoes by some of the greatest artists of that time that have been preserved for centuries. There is also a showcase of various weapons that had been in use in some of the greatest battles of Europe.

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History

The monument had initially been constructed AD as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian and his family. However it got completed in 139 AD, one year after the death of the emperor and his family. His tomb was erected in the same building and subsequently of the following rulers. The building was then transformed into a military fortress in 401 and went through several attacks and loots due to which the decorations and the ashes of the rulers got destroyed. It was also added to the Aurelian walls in 403 by Flavius Honorius Augustus. 

It is believed that Archangel Michael sheathed his sword and ended the plague of 590 that has severely affected the city, and thus the monument was named after him. A statue of an angel now stands on top of the castle in his memory. 

The building was converted to a castle in the 14th century along with a secret passage called Passetto di Borgo from Saint Peter’s Basilica by Pope Nicholas III. Pope Clement VII took refuge in this fortress during the Sack of Rome (1527).

The monument was decommissioned in 1901 and has been serving as a museum since then called Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant'Angelo.

Tips

  1. It is advised to book the tour online through various agencies as the queues tend to get really long. 
  2. Wear comfortable footwear as there is a lot of walking.
  3. Spend some time on the pedestrian bridge over the Tiber River and enjoy the views of the castle and the city. 

How to Reach

Bus:

1. Stops at Piazza Pia - 23, 40, 62, 271, 280, 982

2. Stops at Santo Spirito - 46, 64


Metro:
 Get down at Lopiano or Ottaviano station and then walk to the castle.

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