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Castel Sant'Angelo is a towering cylindrical building in Parco Adriano, Rome, Italy. It was initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family. The building was later used by the popes as a fortress and castle, and is now a museum. The structure was once the tallest building in Rome.
Castel Sant'Angelo: A Beautiful Museum In Vatican City
The Castel Sant'Angelo is split into five floors which can be reached by a spiral ramp that first reaches the chamber of ashes and subsequently the cells in which a number of historical figures were incarcerated. Advancing toward the upper part of the castle you will find different rooms that functioned as a Papal Apartments, decorated with perfectly preserved frescoes from the Renaissance period, besides the extensive collection of weapons. The Papal Apartments were notoriously lavish and they were known to have the most opulent of decorations and designs. It’s said that even one room was painted by Raphael. The infamous Borgia Pope, Alexandre VI built a sumptuously lavish apartment complete with gardens and fountains. Don’t miss the Farnese apartment which overlooks the Courtyard of the Angel, too. In the upper floor there is a large terrace where you can take amazing photographs of the city from above. This is a must thing to do at Castel Sant'Angelo. You won’t regret paying the price of the Castel Sant'Angelo tickets when you step outside the castle and remain speechless at the views over Rome during sunset.
The Castel Sant’Angelo goes all the way back to the first century. During the medieval period, it was sometimes called the “Bridge of St. Peter” since it was how most pilgrims crossed the Tiber River to get to St. Peter’s Basilica. But the bridge took on a new meaning in the 17th century when Pope Clement IX commissioned new statues. Artistic genius Gian Lorenzo Bernini came up with the plan. There’d be 10 statues of angels, but each would be holding something special: the arma Christi, or instruments of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It’s really easy to miss if you’re not looking carefully; the average person probably just sees beautiful angels. But sure enough, all the angels are holding objects related to the suffering and death of Christ. Take your time to admire all these statues during your Castel Sant'Angelo tour.
Being so strategically located, a short walk in any direction will take you to a hub of excellent restaurants. You can easily cross the bridge and make your way to the areas of Piazza di Spagna or Piazza Navona if you fancy having lunch or dinner there. But if you decide to grab a bite near the museum after your Castel Sant’Angelo tour, you should definitely head to “Ristorante Berninetta“. Here you’ll find a very local crowd with extremely kind and patient waiters. Everything on the menu is worth a try. The pizza is exquisite and the fried dishes, especially the fried artichokes, are not to be missed. Any plate of pasta is succulent and the choices are endless.
How to Get Tickets?
Castel Sant'Angelo tickets can be purchased at the ticket office on-site. However, if you want to skip the line at the entrance, you may purchase your tickets online. There are a few websites that sell tickets to this museum, but usually they charge you more money for the online reservation fees.
How To Get Around?
You can easily get around Castel Sant'Angelo by walking. It is easily accessible and beautiful, take your time to admire everything it has to offer.
What Should I Wear?
You can wear anything you want on your Castel Sant'Angelo tour. It is not a church so there is no dress code to visit this place.
Best Time to Visit
Castel Sant’Angelo tour can be admired at any time of the day and night from its vast exterior area and from the beautiful Ponte Sant’Angelo, the pedestrian bridge which crosses the Tiber and links the castle to the center of Rome. The museum within its walls can be visited from Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 am to 7:30 pm. On Friday, the opening hours are extended till 10:00 pm. The museum is closed on Monday, Christmas day and New Year’s day.
Will I Need a Guide?
No, you don't need a guide to explore the museum. It is best to be explored by yourself so you can do anything you want in your own pace.
How To Get There?
Whether you are visiting the East or the West side of the river, getting to Castel Sant’Angelo is very easy. From Piazza Navona on one side, or from the Vatican on the other, it is roughly a 10 minute walk to the castle. Perhaps the most unforgettable way of approaching the castle is by walking across Ponte Sant’Angelo where you can pause and admire Bernini’s stunning white marble angel statues on either side. And if you plan on arriving using public transportation, plenty of bus lines will take you to your destination. You can also take the A metro line and hop off at either Lepanto or Ottaviano stations.
The Roma Pass allows you free entry to 2 out of 6 top attractions for free including the Coliseum, Palatine Hill & Roman Forum, Capitolini Museums, Borghese Gallery and Castel Sant'Angelo.