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Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome

Castel Sant’Angelo dates back to Hadrian, the Roman emperor, who commissioned its construction in the first century AD as a mausoleum, built to house his remains and all of his descendants; hence, it is also referred to as Hadrian's Mausoleum. Over the centuries it went from being a tomb to an impregnable fortress, from a prison to a magnificent Renaissance dwelling, and from a barracks to a national museum.

Some people say visiting Castel Sant'Angelo is like seeing all of Rome’s history in one place.

The building wasn’t named Castel Sant’Angelo (Castle of the Holy Angels) until Pope Gregory the Great announced the Archangel Micheal appeared before him to declare the end of the plague.

The Layers of history

  • 1st century AD: Hadrians Mausoleum- This is where the remains of Hadrian and members of the Imperial family up to Caracalla were laid to rest.

  • 3-4th century: Walls were built to create a Fortress for the Imperial city.

  • 5-9th century: Property acquired by the Papal states and named Castel Sant'Angelo

  • 10-14th century: Roman families and the Papal States fight over control of the fortress imprisoning the opposition.

  • 15-16th century: Renaissance Apartments were made as homes for the Popes of that time.

The Courtyard of the Angel on the 4th level. Renaissance Aprtments of the Popes to the right and the Museum to the left
  • 16-18th century: Expanded the fortress with a new pentagonal external wall, equipped with a moa and military barracks.

  • 19th century: With the annexation of Rome to the State, Italian (1870), Castel Sant'Angelo lost its historic function as a fortress

  • 20th century: Efforts were made to de-militarize the fortress. But it was used to house important art from all over the republic during the First and Second World Wars.

Ponte Sant’Angelo (The Bridge of Holy Angels)

The 10 angels by Bernini at Ponte Sant Angelo in Rome are masterpieces of Bernini's artistic abilities. They embody the spirit of the baroque period that Bernini lived and created. The angels proclaim the crucifixion of Jesus. Each angel holds a different relic of his death.

View of 5 of the 10 Angels on the Ponte Sant'Angelo towards the Castel Sant'Angelo
5 of the 10 Angels on the Ponte Sant'Angelo

Good To Know


€12.00 full price

€2.00 reduced (18-25 years)

Free (under 18)


Avaialbe upon request


Open Tuesday to Sunday, 9.00-19.30 (last admission at 18.30).

Closed on Mondays.

Closed on January 1st, May 1st and December 25th


There is a coffee bar inside the museum on the loggia level. Tables are first come first serve and offer great views of the Vatican and surrounding area.

View of the Vatican from Loggia area near the Cafe
View from the Loggia area near the Cafe


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