Castel Sant'Angelo

The fortress of the Popes

Castel Sant’Angelo

Located on the right bank of the Tiber River, the Castle of the Holy Angel was built as a Mausoleum of the emperor Hadrian, and during the  Middle Ages and the Renaissance became a fortress, prison and elegant Papal residence during periods of political instability. In 1277 the “Passetto”,  was built. The passetto is a covered fortified corridor which connects the castle to the Vatican Palaces. It was used over the centuries to facilitate the passage of the Popes to their private apartments but was above all an escape exit in case of danger. Today you can see a fascinating spiral staircase from the Hadrianic period as well as the splendid Renaissance frescoes by Giulio Romano and Perin del Vaga, students of Raphael. The 18th century bronze angel which gives the castle its name comes from an ancient legend that dates back to the plague of 590. The legend says that the plague ended thanks to the apparition of an angel who alighted above the mausoleum and put its sword in its sheath, which was seen as a symbol of Divine Grace.

Duration: 2 hours

Info: Monday closed