Beautifully situated on the right of Tiber River, Castel Sant’ Angelo has witnessed a turbulent history that dates back to 139 AD, when it was originally built in the memory of Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum that housed the remains of the king and his successors till Carcalla. However, during 270 and 275 AD, the mausoleum was renovated and introduced as a defensive wall around the city. From then onwards, the building became popular as the Castel Sant’ Angelo. It was slowly transformed into a fortress, followed by which, during 1277 it was being used as papal residency and finally as a military prison and barracks. In recent days, the Castel Sant’ Angelo has been a national museum.
Superb Design, Spectacular Architecture
The design for Hadrian Mausoleum was inspired by the Mausoleum of Augustus, and consists of a square that features an 89 meter wide base on which a 64 meter cylindrical colonnaded drum was built. This magnificent drum was covered with earthen tumulus and had a statue of Emperor Hadrian riding a Quadriga on top. During the era of papal residency, a secret corridor was built, known as the Passetto di Borgo, which connected the building to the Vatican. The corridor was particularly used by the Swiss Guards and Pope Clement VII to take refuge from the army of Charles de Bourbon when Rome was sacked in 1527.
During the era of the pontiffs, the building was beautifully renovated to provide luxurious papal apartments that featured spacious rooms exquisitely decorated with splendid frescoes. Just beneath the apartments lay several floors, which housed a torture chamber and prisons. As a part of the Hadrian Mausoleum, a magnificent spiraling corridor leads the way to the lower levels of the Castel Sant’ Angelo. However, one of the key highlights of the building is the angel statue built at the top of the fortress, overlooking the exquisite terrace. The original marble statue has been replaced by a bronze one, and was built by the famous sculptor Pieter Verschaffelt.
The National Museum of Castel Sant’ Angelo: A Must to Visit your trip to Rome Tour
The Castel Sant’ Angelo Museum presents an exotic collection of Renaissance paintings, antique military weapons, and fine art and pottery. A magnificent spiral ramp heads upwards for about 400 feet, presenting a stunning view. Indulge in the exuberance and charm of the splendid terrace and discover the rich architectural heritage of Rome that has been beautifully represented at Castel Sant’ Angelo.
How to Visit Castel Sant’ Angelo?
Castel Sant’ Angelo is situated on the banks of River Tiber at close proximity to the Vatican. This amazing tourist attraction is easily accessible via bus and metro. Take the bus number 40 from the main railway station, which will drop you close to the building, only at a few minutes walking distance. You can also take Metro Line A and get off Lepanto to make your way to the stunning site. Alternatively, you can catch the taxi to make your sightseeing tour more comfortable.
Entry to the Museum
The Museum remains open from 9am to 7pm from April-September, and from 9am to 2pm from October-March. The admission fee for adults is €8. The Castel Sant’ Angelo remains closed on public holidays.