Castel Sant Angelo is a majestic fortress located on the banks of the Tiber River in Rome, Italy. Originally built as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian in AD 139, it was later converted into a castle by the Popes in the 14th century. Today, it stands as one of Rome's most iconic landmarks, offering visitors a glimpse into the city's rich history.
The exterior of Castel Sant'Angelo is truly impressive, featuring a cylindrical tower, impressive walls, and a drawbridge over a moat. Inside, visitors can explore the castle's many rooms, including the famous Passetto di Borgo, a secret passage that connects Castel Sant Angelo to the Vatican City. One of the highlights of a visit to Castel Sant'Angelo is the breathtaking view of Rome from the castle's rooftop terrace. From here, visitors can see panoramic views of the city, including St. Peter's Basilica and the Colosseum. Castel Sant'Angelo has a fascinating history, having served as a fortress, a papal residence, a prison, and even a museum. It was also used as a safe haven for popes during times of war and turmoil, which is why it is sometimes referred to as the "Castle of the Holy Angel".
The History of Castel Sant'Angelo begins with its original construction as a mausoleum for the Roman Emperor Hadrian in 139 AD. The mausoleum was a monumental tomb that housed the remains of Hadrian and his family. The structure was located on the right bank of the Tiber River, just outside the walls of ancient Rome. It was built in the shape of a cylinder, with a diameter of about 65 meters and a height of about 21 meters. The building was covered in marble and decorated with statues and reliefs, making it a grand and impressive sight.
After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Castel Sant'Angelo was converted into a fortress to protect the city against invaders. The building's strategic location overlooking the Tiber River made it an ideal stronghold. In the 5th century, the Visigoths invaded Rome, and the fortress was used to defend the city. Later, in the 14th century, the fortress was renovated and strengthened by the popes, who added walls and towers to make it even more impregnable.
During the Middle Ages, Castel Sant'Angelo was occupied by various ruling factions and underwent several modifications. The fortress was used by the popes as a residence and a place to store treasures and weapons. In the 14th century, Pope Nicholas III built a secret passageway that connected the fortress to the Vatican, allowing the pope to escape in case of danger. The fortress was also used as a prison, and many political prisoners were held there over the years.
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During the Renaissance and Baroque period, Castel Sant'Angelo underwent significant changes. Pope Julius II commissioned architect Donato Bramante to redesign the interior of the fortress, turning it into a luxurious palace. The pope's successors continued the renovation, adding frescoes and decorations that made it one of the most magnificent palaces in Rome. The fortress was also used as a military barracks during this period.
In the 19th century, Castel Sant'Angelo was used as a museum, and many of its original decorations and furnishings were restored. The fortress played a significant role in Italian history during World War II, serving as a bunker and air raid shelter for the Italian military. Today, Castel Sant'Angelo is a popular tourist destination, and visitors can explore the museum, climb to the top of the fortress for panoramic views of the city, and learn about the rich and fascinating history of this remarkable building.
Castel Sant'Angelo is a fortress located in Rome, Italy, on the right bank of the Tiber River, near the Vatican City. It was originally built as a mausoleum for the Roman Emperor Hadrian in 139 AD.
The history of Castel Sant'Angelo dates back to its construction as a mausoleum for the Roman Emperor Hadrian. It was later converted into a fortress to protect the city against invaders and was occupied by various ruling factions during the Middle Ages. During the Renaissance and Baroque period, it underwent significant changes and was used as a military barracks. In the modern era, it was used as a museum and played a significant role in Italian history during World War II.
Also Checkout - Vatican City Facts
Yes, Castel Sant'Angelo is open to visitors as a museum. Visitors can explore the building, climb to the top for panoramic views of the city, and learn about the rich and fascinating history of this remarkable building.
Must Read - Vatican Museum Rules
A visit to Castel Sant'Angelo offers many highlights, including exploring the fortress and its history, admiring the frescoes and decorations added during the Renaissance and Baroque period, and climbing to the top of the fortress for panoramic views of the city. Visitors can also see the prison cells and learn about the fortress's role during World War II.
Book Now - Vatican Museums Tickets
Yes, there is a fee to visit Castel Sant'Angelo. Prices vary depending on the type of ticket and whether visitors choose to take a guided tour. However, there are some free admission days throughout the year, so it's worth checking the schedule before planning a visit.
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Castel Sant'Angelo served as a bunker and air raid shelter for the Italian military during World War II. It played a significant role in Italian history during this period.
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During the Renaissance and Baroque period, Castel Sant'Angelo underwent significant changes. The interior was redesigned by architect Donato Bramante, turning it into a luxurious palace. Frescoes and decorations were added, making it one of the most magnificent palaces in Rome.