History Of Castel Sant’Angelo

Castel Sant'Angelo, also known as the Mausoleum of Hadrian, is a landmark building in Rome, Italy. The Castel Sant'Angelo history spans over two millennia, and the building has served many purposes throughout its existence. The Castel Sant'Angelo was built by Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century AD as a mausoleum for himself and his family. After Hadrian's death, the building was used by subsequent emperors as a family tomb, and it remained a mausoleum until the 5th century. During the Middle Ages, the Castel Sant'Angelo was converted into a fortress, and its strategic location on the banks of the Tiber River made it an important stronghold. Later, during the Renaissance, the building was used as a papal residence, and it played a significant role in the political and religious history of Rome.


The Castel Sant'Angelo history also includes its use as a prison during the Papal States. Many high-profile prisoners were held there, including the philosopher Giordano Bruno, who was imprisoned for seven years before being executed. Today, Castel Sant'Angelo is a museum showcasing the history of Rome and its rulers. Visitors can explore the castle's many rooms and learn about its varied history, from its origins as a mausoleum to its role as a fortress, castle, and papal residence. The museum's collections include paintings, sculptures, furniture, weaponry, and artifacts from the mausoleum and the castle's past as a prison. Passetto di Borgo is an elevated passageway connecting Castel Sant'Angelo to the Vatican, offering a historical and strategic link between the two iconic landmarks.

The Mausoleum of Hadrian
The Mausoleum of Hadrian

Castel Sant'Angelo history dates back to the 2nd century AD when Emperor Hadrian commissioned its construction as a mausoleum for himself and his family. The mausoleum was completed in 139 AD, and it housed the remains of the emperor, his wife, and other members of the imperial family. The mausoleum was built in a circular shape with a diameter of 64 meters and a height of 21 meters. The structure was adorned with marble and bronze decorations, including statues and reliefs. The top of the mausoleum was crowned with a statue of Hadrian driving a chariot. During the Middle Ages, the mausoleum was used as a fortress to defend the city from invading barbarians. Later, it became a papal residence, and some of the original decorations were removed or modified. Today, visitors can still see some of the original decorations and learn about the mausoleum's history through the exhibits in the museum.


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The Fortress and the Castle
The Fortress and the Castle

In the 5th century, the mausoleum was converted into a fortress by the Visigoths, who used it as a stronghold during their siege of Rome. In the 14th century, Pope Nicholas III turned the fortress into a castle, adding defensive walls and a moat. The castle served as a refuge for popes during times of danger, and it played a significant role in the city's defense during the Sack of Rome in 1527. The castle's strategic position on the banks of the Tiber river made it an ideal location for controlling access to the city. During the Renaissance, the castle was transformed into a sumptuous papal residence, with luxurious apartments, frescoes, and gardens. In the 19th century, the castle was turned into a museum, showcasing the history of Rome and its rulers.


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As a Prison
As a Prison

Castel Sant'Angelo played a significant role in the history of Rome as a prison. It was used as a prison during the Papal States, and many high-profile prisoners were held there, including the philosopher Giordano Bruno. Bruno was imprisoned in Castel Sant'Angelo for seven years, from 1593 to 1600, on charges of heresy. He was interrogated and tortured while held there and ultimately sentenced to death by burning at the stake. Other notable prisoners held in Castel Sant'Angelo include the pirate Redbeard and the artist Benvenuto Cellini. Today, visitors can explore the prison cells in the castle and learn about the prisoners held there and the conditions they endured.

As a Museum
As a Museum

In the 19th century, Castel Sant'Angelo was turned into a museum, and it has remained so ever since. The museum houses an impressive collection of artwork, artifacts, and historical objects that tell the story of Rome's rich history. The museum's collections include paintings, sculptures, furniture, and weaponry, as well as artifacts from the mausoleum and the castle's past as a prison. Visitors can see original decorations from the mausoleum, such as statues and reliefs, as well as papal apartments from the Renaissance. One of the museum's most famous exhibits is the statue of the Archangel Michael, which stands atop the castle and is visible from many parts of Rome.


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History of Castel Sant Angelo

History of Castel Sant Angelo

Castel Sant'Angelo, situated on the banks of the Tiber River in Rome, Italy, has a rich history dating back to ancient times. Originally built as a mausoleum for the Roman Emperor Hadrian and his family in the 2nd century AD, the structure showcased an impressive fusion of architectural styles, blending Roman and Greek influences. Over the centuries, the building evolved from a mausoleum to a fortress, with defensive walls and a corridor connecting it to the Vatican, allowing popes a safe escape route during times of crisis. The castle's strategic location made it a key defensive stronghold during various conflicts, including the Sack of Rome in 1527. It also served as a prison, and its grim reputation gave rise to its nickname, the "Castle of the Holy Angel." The edifice underwent numerous modifications and renovations, reflecting the shifting political and cultural landscape of Rome. 

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Highlights
  • Marvel at centuries of ancient history within the castle walls at the museum

  • Explore 5 floors of the magnificent Castel Sant'Angelo Museum by booking your skip-the-line ticket

  • Enjoy stunning views from the city, river, and sunset from the terrace of the castle

  • Learn about the museum's past and how it served as a fortification against Barbarian attacks on the city

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Must Know Before You Go
  • You will have to climb a series of stairs to reach the panoramic terrace.
  • Participants are not allowed to carry any sharp object, lighter, luggage bag, alcohol, knife, etc.
  • All foreign nationals must share their passport and visa details at the time of arrival.
  • ID proof is mandatory for each individual guest at the time of arrival.
  • Age policies change according to the package. Please go through the policies in the package before booking.
  • Please note that the time slots may be subject to slight variations, and we will allocate a time slot available within a 30-minute window before or after your initial selection.
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FAQs

What is Castel Sant'Angelo's history?

    Castel Sant'Angelo history dates back to the 2nd century AD when it was built as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian and his family. It later served as a fortress, castle, papal residence, and a prison during different periods.

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Who built Castel Sant'Angelo?

What is the Archangel Michael statue on top of Castel Sant'Angelo?

Was Castel Sant'Angelo ever used as a prison?

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