Rome / Rome Attractions / Castel St. Angelo

Castel Sant' Angelo - Rome

The Castle of the Holy Angel in Rome was originally a mausoleum of Emperor Hadrian and was built approximately 130 AD for himself and his successors. It was later converted into a fortress with the purpose to defend Rome.

The name Castel Sant 'Angelo came from when Pope Gregory the Great in 590 thought he saw the Archangel Michael on the crest of the mausoleum. A statue was erected later. It crows Castel Sant 'Angelo by an angel with a sword. In the Castle's theres much to exepreince and it is well worth a visit.

(Click on the photos och Castel st. Angelo for bigger versions)

Castel Sant´Angelo - Rome 001

To get into the original circular mausoleum you must walk through dark passageways.

Castel Sant´Angelo - Rome 002

At the top you can see the archangel Michael, when he put down the sword in its sheath.

Castel Sant´Angelo - Rome 003

The mausoleum was used as a burial site and here rests the creator himself, Hadrian, along with several others.

Castel Sant´Angelo - Rome 004

Around the circular mausoleum the castle has been fortified with additional walls and the castle was once one of Rome's most important defenses.

Castel Sant´Angelo - Rome 005

Here you can see a tower from which they could defend themselves against attackers who came along the Tiber River. Today the riverbank is used mostly as a place for entertainment. The party tenst sits tight along the river edge on the other side.

Castel Sant´Angelo - Rome 006

Here is part of the castles waeponry. Even cannons was used to defend Rome. The castle holds several exhibitions including weapons and armory.

Castel Sant´Angelo - Rome 007

A detail from a well-preserved part of the facade. The entire castle is not as beautiful and renovations are constantly ongoing.

Castel Sant´Angelo - Rome 008

In the courtyard on top of the Castel Sant 'Angelo, there is a lot to see and here we found it strange stair adornment.

Castel Sant´Angelo - Rome 009

The view is in itself a reason to visit Castel Sant'Angelo. Here you can see towards the Vatican with Saint Peter's Basilica and St. Peter's Square. Unfortunately it was quite hazy in Rome when we were there.

Castel Sant´Angelo - Rome 010

Castel Sant 'Angelo is full of stairs and passageways.

Castel Sant´Angelo - Rome 011

Here you can see the balcony facing the Ponte Sant'Angelo.

Castel Sant´Angelo - Rome 012

In the aqueduct which had previously supplied the castle with water there is a hidden passage leading to the Vatican. You may have read about it or seen it in Angels and demons.

Castel Sant´Angelo - Rome 013

View of the Tiber River in Rome and Ponte Sant'Angelo swarmed by street vendors with different kinds of souvenirs.

Castel Sant´Angelo - Rome 014

Here we are deep in the castle. The lack of natural light along with well-placed lighting created a mystical atmosphere.

Map of Castel Sant' Angelo »   

Facts about Castel Sant Angelo

Emperor Hadrian began construction of the mausoleum about 130 but did not himself finish the project ended a year after his death in 138 by his successor Antonius Pius 129th

The mausoleum consists of a socket that is 90x90 meters wide and 15 meters high. Above it rises a mighty cylinder whose upper part adorned marble statues. In the mausoleum Hadrian and his wife Sabina rest together but also many others, including Caracalla (Who is behind the construction of several bathhouses in Rome). The mausoleum was later transformed to a stronghold or Castel as an important part of Romes defenses. The base transformed into a wall and they also built several towers.

The name Castel Sant 'Angelo is believed to origiante from 590 when Pope Gregory the Great led a procession to St. Peter's in order to get divine protection against the plague that ravaged Rome. The Pope behold Archangel Michael on top of the mausoleum as he put his sword back into its scabbard. The Pope took it as a sign that the plague ravages finally were over.

On top of Castel Sant 'Angelo, you can now see a statue of arcangel Michael. It was created in the 1800s by the Belgian Pieter Werschaffelt.

In 1277 the pope Nciolaus II in Vatican, Rome build a secret passage, hidden in the aqueduct between the castle and Saint Peter's Basilica.

Francés Charles VIII invaded Rome in 1494 but was forced to retreat after being heavily fired upon from the Castle.

Clement VII took cover in the castle where Charles V sacked Rome 1527th He was then forced to stand and watch when as much of Rome burned while those who found themselves inside castle walls escaped unharmed.


Castel Sant 'Angelo in Rome has also been used as a prison but has now become a museum, Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant'Angelo.

The stronghold have been given much attention as an important part of the plot of Dan Brown's book Angels and Demons takes place here. There are guided tours where you follow in the main character, Robert Langdon's footsteps.

Ponte Sant 'Angelo, which also was built by Hadrian survived for 15 centuries before it collapsed in 1450 under the enormous pressure from all the pilgrims who had gathered here during the celebration of a holy year. The bridge was rebuilt in the 1700th - century an Bernini and his apprentices created the sculptures that decorates the bridge today.

                                Rome the eternal city!