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Explore Castel Sant'Angelo: Artifacts, history, and terrace views

Originally the mausoleum of Emperor Hadrian, Castel Sant'angelo transformed into a fortress, prison and now a historical attraction. From stunning architecture to breathtaking views of Rome's skyline, it pulls millions of tourists every year. Here...

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Castel Sant AngeloCastel Sant'Angelo

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RECOMMENDED DURATION

2 hours

VISITORS PER YEAR

1234443

EXPECTED WAIT TIME - STANDARD

30-60 mins (Peak), 0-30 mins (Off Peak)

EXPECTED WAIT TIME - SKIP THE LINE

0-30 mins (Peak), 0-30 mins (Off Peak)

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Did you know?

Originally known as the "Mausoleum of Hadrian," the castle acquired its current name in 590 AD when legend suggests that the Archangel Michael appeared atop the castle, ending a plague in Rome.

The castle offers not one, but three impressive viewpoints. The rooftop terrace with the angel statue showcases the best panoramic view of Rome, while a coffee shop and another viewpoint provide different but equally fascinating perspectives.

The statue of the angel atop the castle has faced misfortune throughout history, being destroyed multiple times by various calamities before the current bronze statue was installed in 1753.




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History of Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome

Castel Sant'Angelo Rome History
Castel Sant'Angelo Rome

3rd Century to the Middle Ages

Castel Sant’Angelo Rome was converted to a fortress by Emperor Aurelian, making it a strategic point for Roman warfare. In the 590s Pope Gregory had a vision of the archangel Michael sheathing his sword over the castle, signifying the end of the plague, thus lending the structure its name. Castel Sant'Angelo Rome passed through the hands of various Popes and served as residence, prison, courts, in addition to being a fortress. Towards the end of the Middle Ages, Pope Nicholas III had the Passetto di Borgo built, which connects the Vatican to the Castle

Castel Sant'Angelo Rome Bridge

Renaissance and Later

During the Renaissance, Castel Sant’Angelo Rome underwent a complete transformation under Cardinal Della Rovere, who preferred to reside inside the Castle rather than in the Vatican Palace. The Papal residences were renovated during this time. The Loggia towards the Tiber was also built.

A massive castle was built on the ancient ruins of the Hadrian Mausoleum and the majority of the original statues on the Ponte Sant'Angelo were lost. The ten statues we see on the bridge today were designed by Bernini in 1668 and the two statues of St. Peter & St. Paul at the end of the bridge were erected in 1624. 

Castel Sant'Angelo Rome Museum

Museum

After serving as a prison, barracks, and even a warehouse for war materials, it was decommissioned in 1901. The Mausoleum was completely abandoned until Colonel Luigi Durand de la Penne and Captain Mariano Borgatti decided to restore it. 

After a massive 6-year-long restoration campaign, it was inaugurated as a museum by King Vittorio Emanuele III. Inside Castel Sant Angelo, visitors can view the famous open-air scenography, restored fifteenth-century shops, numerous works of art, statues, frescoes and even visit the Papal Apartments that are furnished with authentic pieces of history. 

Castel Sant’Angelo Rome Highlights

Castel Sant'Angelo Rome Art

Works of Art

Castel Sant'Angelo Rome has amassed a huge collection of art over time. A majority of these are accessible to the public and are located at the heart of the castle. You will find fragments from the ancient Hadrian tomb that found its way back to the mausoleum after several restoration campaigns, artworks that were donated by private collectors like Contini Bonaccorsi, as well as sculptures and frescoes from the Renaissance period.  As visitors make their way through the five floors, they can view the carefully preserved murals, and on the roof, they will find the famous sculpture of Archangel Michael, which is the crown jewel of this mausoleum.

Castel San'tAngelo Rome Passage

Passetto di Borgo

The Passetto di Borgo is an elevated corridor that links the Castel Sant'Angelo with the Vatican City. This 800-meter-long passageway was built in 1277 and was commissioned by Pope Nicholas III. During this time the fortress also happened to serve as the Pope’s Residence. 

The passage served as an escape route for Popes in case of an attack. Pope Alexander VI used it when Charles VIII invaded Rome in 1494 and  Clement VII crossed it during the Sack of Rome in 1527. Visitors can see the passage from the castle and it is occasionally opened to the general public in the summer months. 

Castel Sant'Angelo Rome Ponte

Ponte Sant’Angelo

The Ponte Sant’Angelo is a bridge on the bank of the Tiber River that connects the Castel Sant’Angelo to the city. The 135-meter bridge was built by Emperor Hadrian. 

Initially known as the Aelian Bridge or Hadrian’s Bridge, it was used by Christian pilgrims as a passageway to St. Peter’s Basilica. However, during the 7th Century, when Archangel Michael's statue was erected at the mausoleum, the bridge was renamed the Ponte Sant’Angelo. During the Renaissance era, the Pope commissioned Gian Lorenzo Bernini to sculpt 10 angels to be erected on either side of the bridge. 

All Your Questions Answered About Castel Sant’Angelo Rome

Q. What is Castel Sant’Angelo Rome?

A. Castel Sant'Angelo Rome was initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his successors in AD 123-139. Over the years, the structure has served as a fortress, prison, and Papal Quarters. It is currently a museum.

Q. When was Castel Sant’Angelo Rome built?

A. Castel Sant’Angelo Rome was commissioned by Emperor Hadrian in 123 AD and it was completed in 135 AD.

Q. What is the Castel Sant’Angelo Rome famous for?

A. The Castel Sant’Angelo Rome is famous for being the tomb of Emperor Hadrian. It is also known serving as a fortress and prison to the Papal residence throughout history. Today, the museum is known for its cultural and historical value.

Q. Where is Hadrian’s Tomb?

A. Emperor Hadrian’s tomb is located at Castel Sant'Angelo, Rome.

Q. Is Castel Sant’Angelo Rome still standing?

A. Although the Roman Emperor Hadrian’s Mausoleum went through major renovations and reconstructions throughout history, it is currently standing as a museum of cultural value.

Q. What is inside Castel Sant’Angelo Rome?

A. Inside Castel Sant’Angelo Rome, you can find Hadrian's Tomb, the Papal quarters, fortress, execution ground, and well-preserved frescos and more.

Q. What is Castel Sant'Angelo Rome used for now?

A. The Castel Sant’Angelo is currently a museum of immense cultural and social significance.

Q. Does Castel Sant'Angelo Rome belong to Vatican City?

A. No, Castel Sant’Angelo Rome does not belong to the Vatican City. It belongs to the Republic of Italy and is administered by the National Museum Department of the Rome City Council.

Q. How much does it cost to visit Castel Sant’Angelo in Paris?

A. The Castel Sant'Angelo Rome ticket prices start as € 15.