Castel Sant’Angelo: a palimpsest of memoriesRome, Italy
Travel back in time to explore Hadrian’s cylindrical mausoleum and experience its gradual transformation to a military fortress and a papal residence. Brimming with stories and legends of the famous personalities who lived and died behind its thick walls, Castel Sant’ Angelo has a tumultuous past tied to the history of Rome.
1. The room of Cupid and PsycheWho needs to count sheep to fall asleep in such a beautiful bedroom? When Pope Paul III went to bed the beautiful story of Cupid and Psyche distracted him from his worries and concerns.
2. The statue of the angelOne of the most recognizable features of the castle is the statue of the angel alluding to the miraculous vision of Pope Gregory. It took quite long, though, until the Archangel settled in properly.
3. The Paolina HallA Pope with a profound humanist education and a patron of the arts, Paul III couldn’t have commissioned something less impressive and sumptuous than the richly adorned sala Paolina.
A Tribute To Saint Paul
The Paolina HallAbove the doors that lead to the Pauline Hall, there are some monochromatic depictions of the Life of Saint Paul, enclosed in round medallions. Here too, the selection of the theme is a direct reference to Alessandro Farnese, who adopted the regnal name Paul III. The scenes depicted present some of the most significant events in the history of Christianity, including the sacrifice at Lystra, the blinding of Elymas and Saint Paul’s martyrdom.
The Pope’s Bedroom
The room of Cupid and PsycheThe Room known as Room of Cupid and Psyche is the Pope’s bedroom. It owes its name to the frescoes which adorn the walls and the ceiling representing scenes from Greek mythology, most notably the tale of Cupid and Psyche from Apuleius’s novel “The Golden Ass”. It is the story of love between Cupid and a mortal girl, who is envied by Venus due to her impeccable beauty. Venus sends her son to trick her and make her fall in love with an ugly man, but Cupid falls in love with her instead. He takes Psyche to his castle and visits her when the night falls in secret. The girl is directed never to seek to see her lover’s face, but one night, as advised by her envious sisters, she lights a candle to discover his true identity. Thus, Venus tracks down the two lovers and punishes the poor girl. With a little help from Jupiter, who as we all know was very fond of forbidden love stories, Venus’ wrath was appeased and the couple lived happily together.
The Angel That Almost Made It
The statue of the angelIn 1544, Pope Paul III Farnese commissioned Raffaello da Montelupo to make a marble angel with bronze wings. This statue was not as unlucky as the previous and remained intact for approximately two centuries. Cardinal Costanzo Caracciolo persuaded Pope Benedict XIV Lambertini to replace the statue of Montelupo with the bronze statue standing atop the building to the present day. The former statue was moved to the Courtyard of Honor of Castel Sant’Angelo, where it is still situated until today.
A classical archaeologist with an MA in Management and Administration at SDA Bocconi. He worked in the most important museums of Rome for three years, protecting, preserving and enhancing the cultural heritage of the city.
Contributors and Bibliography
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|Address||Lungotevere Castello, 50, 00193, Rome, Italy|
|Starting point||Entrance of Castel St' Angelo|
|Finishing point||Ponte Sant'Angelo, 00186 Roma RM, Italy|
|Areas||Τhe Executions Court, the Room of the Urns, the Armeria, the Paolina Hall, the Room of Cupid and Psyche, the Treasure Room, the Cagliostra, the Terrace, Passetto di Borgo, the Statue of the Angel, Sant'Angelo Bridge|
|Opening hours||every day 9.00 - 19.30|
|Additional admission||Full price ticket is 15 euros Reduced price ticket from 18- 25 is 3 euros|
|Comments||Directions to Starting Point: Buses 23, 34, 49, 64, 87, 280, 492, 926 and 990. Bus service 40 (express) from the main railway station|
Why take a self-guided tour?
This is a self-guided tour based on the award-winning storytelling concept developed by Clio Muse and the fascinating narratives prepared by our handpicked destination experts.
You can enjoy each multilingual tour by using your smartphone or tablet at your own pace even if you are offline. The interactive map on your screen will guide you step-by-step as you explore all points of interest along your route. Each stop comes with a selection of our signature stories allowing you to tailor the tour experience to your personal interests and schedule.
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