A little bit of history:
Before going to Rome I had never heard of Castel Sant’Angelo. As it turns out, it’s an incredible and defining structure in Rome. It was first built around 123 AD as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian and his family. Around 401 AD the mausoleum was converted into a military fortress to defend Rome. The structure got it’s name in 590 AD when Pope Gregory claimed to see Arch Angel Michael atop the structure sheathing his sword. He took it as a sign that the alleged plague had miraculously come to an end. In the 14th century, popes worked to convert the structure into a castle. Pope Nicolas III connected the castle to St. Peters Basilica by a covered corridor that is now called Passetto di Borgo. And Pope Paul III built a gorgeous apartment in the castle so that he and future Popes would have an appropriate place to stay when under siege.
A lot has happened from 123 AD to now.. and yet this structure remains. To explore the inside, you can purchase tickets on arrival or online. For online ticket info visit: castelsantangelo.beniculturali.it
- Exploring Castel Sant’Angelo can take a couple of hours. You definitely don’t want to rush your time here. There are so many hidden gems, and some of the most gorgeous views of Rome.
- Read up on the castel’s extensive history before visiting. It’ll make your experience much more special. I had no idea what it was, who lived there, when it was built, who built it, why it was built- I knew nothing about it. Big mistake on my part.
- Wear comfortable shoes. This may seem obvious, but there are a few parts of the castel that could be a little challenging wearing the wrong shoes.
- And lastly, take pictures! This place is incredible, super photogenic, and again, the history is incredible. You’ll want to relive your memories of this place.