Visiting the Vatican - What to See and Do

Castel Sant’Angelo

Places to see 0 747
Castel Sant'Angelo

Castel Sant’Angelo is one of the greatest monuments of Rome and it is located very near the Vatican. It is a tour full of history that you cannot miss. Over the centuries it has been used for various purposes: defensive fortress, prison, Renaissance residence and now a museum and venue for cultural events.

Origin

The Castle has Roman origins and was conceived as a personal and family mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian in 135.
It was soon destined to be a military building and it was not until the year 590, when Pope Greogio I, gave it its current name, referring to the appearance of Arcangel San Miguel on its peak, announcing the end of a plague epidemic in the city.

The sculpture of this angel still remains in the monument.

Connection to the Vatican

Since 1277, the castle is connected to the Vatican City though a fortified corridor called Passetto, about 800 meters long. This passage was key to the survival of Pope Clement VII during the looting that took place in Rome in 1527.

Levels

There are five levels:

– Level 1: el Mausoleum (place where the tombs were, at the front of the ramp) and the access ramp.

– Level 2, the prison and the warehouses for cereals and oil.

– Level 3, military use with two patios. From the courtyard called Cortile dell’Angelo, where the former archangel is exposed, you can get to the papal apartments and rooms used for museum purposes (since 1901,  we find weapons, paintings, furniture, other objects and temporary exhibits and documents on the building in 58 different rooms).

– Level 4, the papal apartment, with frescoes by Perino del Vaga, Giulio Romano and other artists of the school of Raphael. as well as the so called Paul III, Clement VII, VIII and Leon Clement X rooms.

– Level 5, upper terrace with splendid views over the whole of Rome and the Vatican, where we find the Archangel and the “Campana della Misericordia”.

Tips for visiting

– What’s most interesting for the visitor are the views, although we shouldn’t forget about the small military museum and the beautiful papal residencies.

– The monument is located in an area known as Hadrian Park. In the warmest months, it is a lovely place for strolling, with gardens, cuisine and entertainment.

– Do not forget to walk through the beautiful Ponte Sant’Angelo, which connects the castle with the centre of Rome across the Tiber.

– It is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9 to 19.30.

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