Castle Sant'Angelo

Mighty guadian of the most sacred place in the city

The Castle Sant’Angelo was built in the 2nd century on the right bank of the Tiber River. In 135 Emperor Hadrian began the construction of the building, which was intended as a tomb for himself and his family. During its many years of existence, the building has performed a variety of functions. In 403 Emperor Honorius included it in the fortress walls of the city and it turned from a mausoleum into a fortress defending the city from enemy attacks. On October 16, 1367 Pope Urban Fifth leaves Avignon, ending the so-called “Avignon papal captivity” and returns to Rome. Then Sant’Angelo was transformed into an elegant papal residence. In the 19th century, the castle served as a prison, and after the unification of Italy as a barracks. In 1906 it opens as a museum.


Description: the figure of archangel Michael /picture source: Shutterstock/;

The name of the castle is associated with the statue of an archangel, which is placed on top of it. In 590 Rome was struck by a plague epidemic. Pope Gregory received a vision. He saw Archangel Michael, standing on top of the castle, putting away his sword. The Pope took this as a sign that the end of the plague would soon come, something that actually happened. After this vision, a wooden figure of an angel was placed on top of the castle, which was then replaced by a marble one.

Description: the castle and the bridge of angels;

The building today houses a museum with a large collection of paintings, ceramics, armor and sculptures. The Papal Rooms are beautiful rooms decorated with frescoes. A few levels below them, the picture is quite different. There, going down a spiral corridor, you can explore the torture chambers. Most preferred by visitors are the upper levels, where a magnificent view of the city is revealed. The bronze statue of the Archangel Michael rises on the panoramic terrace.

Address: Lungotevere Castello, 50, 00193 Roma;

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