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Castel Sant’Angelo: One Monument Many Histories

Castel Sant’Angelo: One Monument Many Histories

From a funerary monument to a fortified castle, from a dark and terrible prison to a splendid Renaissance residence, from a Risorgimento prison to a museum, Castel Sant’Angelo embodies the events of the Eternal City in the solemn Roman spaces, in the mighty walls, in the lavish frescoed halls where past and present appear inextricably linked. The Castle, through an continuous series of developments and transformations without interruption, has accompanied the fate and history of Rome for almost two thousand years.

Visiting the monument, as well as being impressed by the mighty structure, you immediately have the feeling of entering in a small medieval village, right in the center of the Eternal City. Surrounded by high stone walls, you feel catapulted into the past, as if you had traveled back in time. The path develops entering and exiting continuously between the building and the walls all around Castel Sant’ Angelo. You can walk across dark staircases and small rooms, untill the famous walkways. The higher you climb inside the building, the more spectacular the view of Rome becomes.

In the castle there are a series of “guard posts” and large windows overlooking the city, up to the wonderful terrace, where you can admire one of the most suggestive views of Rome. From there, among the various monuments that can be glimpsed, you can admire the fantastic “Regina Mundi”, the dome of St. Peter Basilica, conceived by the genius of Michelangelo Buonarroti.

What is striking about this monument is certainly the many functions that it has changed and the stories that took place here during the time. Built by the emperor Hadrianus as a family mausoleum in 130 AD, the building became a military outpost and it was incorporated into the Aurelian walls, the defensive circuit of the city. In the 6th century the castle became a prison, and later many noble Roman families struggled to take possession of it.

During the 14th century the building became property of the Church and it was connected to the Basilica of Saint Peter thanks to the construction of the famous pathway “Passetto di Borgo”. Shortly afterwards it became a papal residence and the castle turned into a sort of noble palace, where banquets, parties and shows were held. After the unification of Italy the structure was initially used as a barracks, then it became one of the most important museums of Rome.

  • Where: Lungotevere Castello, 50, 00193, Rome, Italy
  • When: every day 9-00 – 19.30
  • Costs: full ticket € 14 / reduced ticket € 7 (EU citizens 18 – 25 years) / FREE every first Sunday of the month; always free for children under 18, for teachers and students from the Faculties of Architecture, Cultural Heritage, Literature, Educational Sciences, Academy of Fine Arts, ICOM members, tourist guides, disabled people with a companion
  • Call center: +39 06 32810 (Mon – Fri: 9.00 am – 6.00 pm / Sat: 9.00 am – 1.00 pm)
  • Transportation: Buses: 23, 34, 49, 64, 87, 280, 492, 926 and 990. Bus service 40 (express) from the main railway station
  • Metro – Lepanto (Line A)