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About Castel Sant'Angelo

Nestled on Tiber River’s banks, Castel Sant’Angelo proudly has its name among the most recognized monuments in Rome.  This alluring and strategically designed fortress has outbeated the rigorous test of time and stood majestically since its inception. Once built as a mausoleum, the building has catered to a number of purposes over the passage of time.

At the moment, this important building of Rome is home to the National Museum of Castel Sant’Angelo. This world-famous Romanian landmark offers visitors a sneak peek into its glorious history as a mausoleum, secret refuge as a Papal residence, and its dark past as a prison and execution ground.

Castel Sant’Angelo is divided into multiple sections and each part of the building lures visitors with its impressive resource. The different parts of the museum include The Bastions, Passetto di Borgo, Hadrian’s Mausoleum, the Pope’s apartments and the courtyard, Grande Loggia and Giretto, and finally the top terrace. The bastions form the gateway to the huge museum. The Passetto di Borgo happens to be walls forming the connection between Castel Sant’Angelo and Vatican City.

The passage’s entrance is still noticeable and occasionally the passage is opened for visitors during the summer season. The section of Hadrian’s mausoleum and the beautiful apartments of the pope is possible to notice even today from inside the castle. ‘La Grande’ Loggia and ‘Il Giretto’ happen to be the most amazing sections of the building, which are known for the views they offer. The terrace of the structure is considered as the crown of Castel Sant’Angelo, which offers enthralling views of the entire city below. From here, one can see a plethora of iconic architectural wonders of Rome, including St. Peter’s Basilica.

How to Reach Castel Sant'Angelo



Castel Sant’Angelo is located at an approximate distance of 92 kilometers from Rome Airport (FCO), which happens to be the nearest airport to the monument. There are many ways to reach the castle from the airport:

- By Bus
The most cost-effective way of reaching Castel Sant’Angelo from Rome Airport (FCO) is by taking a bus. The travelers can take a bus service from bus platform 9 of the airport and reach the monument through Rome Tiburtina, Ethiopia Adua and Rieti. This entire journey generally takes around 5 hours and 23 minutes.  

- By Train
The tourists can also take a train from Fiumicino Aeroporto (railway station) and reach Castel Sant’Angelo through Roma Termini and Terni within 4 hours and 21 minutes. 

- Towncar
The travelers can even hire a town car and reach Castel Sant’Angelo from Rome Airport (FCO) within 1 hour and 29 minutes.

Best Time to Visit Castel Sant'Angelo



The most ideal time for visiting Castel Sant’Angelo is from September to March. Here is a season-wise weather description which can help you to plan your visit to the monument better:

- Winters (November to March)
The winter season is one of the most suitable times to pay a visit to Castel Sant’Angelo. During this period, the weather remains tolerably cold, making for an excellent time to travel to the museum and have a good time. 

- Fall Season (September to October) 
The fall season is yet another appropriate time to visit Castel Sant’Angelo. During this time, the temperature is mild and comfortable and the weather is lovely and soothing, making for a nice atmosphere to get to the museum.

- Summers (April to August)
Summers can be very dry and hot here, making it difficult for tourists to visit the monument. So, tourists planning to visit Castel Sant’Angelo in the summer season should head to the place during the evening time. During this season, many special events also take place in the museum including exhibitions, room openings, and concerts.

What Not to Miss at Castel Sant'Angelo



Here are some of the best places to visit at Castle Sant's Angelo:

1. Palazzo di Giustizia
Located at a distance of just 1 kilometer from Castel Sant’Angelo, Palazzo di Giustizia is counted among the more important modern architectures of Rome. Constructed between the years 1889 and 1911 by Guglielmo Calderini, this majestic structure shelters the country’s Supreme Court. Palazzo di Giustizia is mainly visited by architectural enthusiasts, who come here to marvel at the Baroque architecture of the structure from the outside as public entry into the building is not permitted.   

2. St. Angelo Bridge
Lying at an approximate distance of around 8 kilometers from Castel Sant’Angelo, St. Angelo Bridge was built by emperor Hadrian for connecting Campus Maritus to his mausoleum. Supported on 7 meters high piers, the bridge consists of 5 major spans and 7 stone arches. In the sixteenth century, the figurines of Saint Paul and Saint Peter were positioned at the bridge’s end point, by Pope Clement VII. In the year 1688, 10 figurines of angels, constructed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, were also positioned on the bridge’s parapets.

3. St. Peter’s Basilica
The construction began in the year 1506 by Pope Julius II and was finished in the year 1615 by Paul V, St. Peter’s Basilica lies at a distance of  140 meters from Castel Sant’Angelo. This magnificent church is built as a 3-aisled cross with an enormous dome positioned at the point of crossing. This important pilgrimage site of Rome happened to be the world’s largest church until the year 1989 when a new church built in Yamoussoukro exceeded its size.

4. Sistine Chapel
Situated around 1.4 kilometers from Castel Sant’Angelo, Sistine Chapel was built by Giovanni dei Dolci in the year 1473-81 under Pope Sixtus IV. This chapel happens to be the site for the important papal ceremonies. It is also used for the election of new popes by the Sacred College of Cardinals whenever there’s a vacancy.

Other Essential Information About Castel Sant'Angelo



Location:
Lungotevere Castello, 50, 00193 Roma RM, Italy

Castel Sant’Angelo is located on river Tiber’s right bank, at an approximate distance of 1.6 kilometers from Vatican City. This lofty cylindrical building more aptly lies in Parco Adriano, Rome, Italy.

Tickets:
The entry fee for visiting Castel Sant’Angelo is:
- 14 euros for adults aged above 25
- 7 euros for people aged between 18 and 25. 
- The entry ticket is free for children aged below 18 years.

Opening hours:
Castel Sant’Angelo is open for visitors from 9 AM to 7.30 PM, throughout the week. Furthermore, The museum remains closed on New Year’s Day and Christmas Day. 

Distance from Nearest Airport:
The nearest airport to Castel Sant’Angelo is Rome Airport (FCO), which is located at an approximate distance of 92 kilometers from it.

History of Castel Sant'Angelo



Castel Sant’Angelo was built under the Roman emperor Hadrian between 123 to 139 AD. This building was supposed to serve as a tomb for Hadrian himself as well as his successors and family. After the death of Hadrian in 138 AD, his remains were put here, along with the ashes of his son and wife who also breathed their last in the same year. After this, the remains of all the succeeding Roman emperors were buried in this mausoleum until Emperor Caracalla, who died in 217 AD.

Later, the structure was transformed into a majestic fortress in the fifth century. Further, the fortified walls of the building, its strategic location along river Tiber’s bank, and its proximate distance to Vatican City allowed the papacy to acquire it and take refuge inside it during an emergency. Pope Nicholas III, in the year 1277, got the fortress connected with Vatican City through a corridor known as Passetto di Borgo. This passage then started being used as an excellent escape path from Vatican City to the fortress in times of danger. 

Apart from that, Castel Sant’Angelo has also served as a jail during the middle ages. The courtyard of the castle has witnessed a huge number of burnings and executions of prisoners. During their stay at the castle, the prisoners were tortured terribly and sometimes even starved to death.

Architecture of Castel Sant'Angel



The enthralling architecture of Castel Sant’Angelo is definitely a thing to marvel at. Access to this amazing museum takes you up the spiral ramp of 400 meters inside the castle. This ramp leads the visitors to the classic imperial tomb that is basically a tiny square room, which is believed to have sheltered Emperor Hadrian’s ash containing urns. Constructed in 6 levels, the castle has 58 rooms, most of which are now on display to the visitors. The castle has been beautifully decorated with appealing artwork, the majority of which are borrowed from the enchanting collections of Contini Bonacossi and Mario Menotti.

The castle makes for a nice labyrinth consisting of numerous courtyards, frescoed rooms, and stately halls. Upon ascending through the towering castle, the visitors will ultimately arrive at the final narrow stairway, which will take them to the 6th level followed by the amazing rooftop. The rooftop has a small cafe where the visitors can have some quick snacks while enjoying the mesmerizing views of the city. 

Hadrian's Mausoleum 



Castel Sant’Angelo was initially constructed by the Roman Emperor Hadrian to serve as a mausoleum. This building formed the tomb for Hadrian as well as his successors and sheltered their remains. The design and architecture of Hadrian’s mausoleum was actually inspired by the engineering of Augustus Mausoleum, which had been constructed a century before. 

The construction work for Hadrian’s mausoleum began in 123 AD under the emperor himself and was completed in 139 AD, under Antoninus Pius, the successor of Hadrian. 
The mausoleum had a 292 feet wide square base atop which a 64 meters wide cylindrical colonnaded drum was built. This drum was completely covered with a tumulus atop which a figurine of Hadrian riding a chariot rested.  

Papal Refuge



During the development of the Aurelian Wall between 270 AD and 275 AD, Hadrian’s mausoleum got fortified. By this time, the mausoleum had been renamed as Castel Sant’Angelo and from this point onwards the building was gradually converted into a fort.

In the year 1277, this fortress was taken up by the papacy and the pope used the structure as a strong refuge when in danger. 
Castel Sant’Angelo was connected to Vatican City by a secret bridge called Passetto di Borgo. Pope Clement VII along with his Swiss Guards used this passage for hiding and protecting themselves from the army of Charles de Bourbon in 1527. 

Tips for visiting Castel Sant'Angelo



- If you want to experience Castel Sant’Angelo without the crowd, plan your visit to the place early in the morning.

- If you are planning to visit Castel Sant’Angelo during the summer season, pay a visit to the place right before sunset in order to witness the spectacular sunset sight from the rooftop terrace.

- Avoid visiting the castle on the month’s first Sunday. The place is almost brimming with visitors as there is no entry fee for visiting Castel Sant’Angelo on this day. 
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People Also Ask About Castel Sant'Angelo

  1. Is Castel Sant'Angelo part of Vatican City?

    No, Castel Sant’ Angelo is not a part of the Vatican City. This majestic fortress lies on Tiber’s right bank and is located at a short distance of around 1.6 kilometers from the Vatican. That said, Castel Sant’Angelo is well connected to Vatican City by a fortified corridor of 800 meters.
  2. Is Castel Sant'Angelo free?

    No, a visit to Castel Sant’Angelo involves a paid entry. The entry fee is 14 euros for adults aged above 25 years and 7 euros for visitors aged between 18 and 25 years. Entry to the castle is absolutely free for children aged below 18 years. The price of the ticket to Castel Sant’Angelo even includes the charge of admission to Palazzo Venezia, but the pass is only valid for 3 days. Additionally, on every month’s first Sunday, the entry to Castel Sant’Angelo is free of cost for every visitor.
  3. Why is Castel Sant'Angelo important?

    Castel Sant’Angelo is counted among Rome’s most important monuments, for it has served a lot of purposes since its construction. This majestic building was constructed on Tiber River’s right bank in order to serve as a tomb for Emperor Hadrian. In the course of its history, this building later functioned as a fort, a papal shelter, a jail, and finally a museum.
  4. What is inside Castel Sant’Angelo?

    Initially built as a mausoleum, Castel Sant’Angelo serves as a full-fledged museum at present day, sheltering and exhibiting a plethora of artifacts, potteries, sculptures, and paintings of the Renaissance era. The building also houses a myriad of artwork, most of which comes from the amazing collections of Contini Bonacossi and Mario Menotti. Moreover, the visitors can also find the beautifully displayed Papal rooms, which were once used as the Papal (Pope’s) apartments in the bygone times. Forming a beautiful labyrinth of frescoed rooms, many courtyards, and stately halls, Castel Sant’Angelo offers its visitors a sneak peak into 2,000 years old Roman history.

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