Castel Sant’Angelo: The Fortress of the Popes in Rome
In the heart of Rome, on the banks of the Tiber River, stands one of the city’s most iconic and fascinating monuments: Castel Sant’Angelo. This imposing fortress has a history dating back thousands of years and has played many roles, from imperial mausoleum to medieval stronghold and papal residence.
A Mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian
The history of Castel Sant’Angelo begins in 123 A.D. when Emperor Hadrian had this structure built as a personal mausoleum for himself and his family. The mausoleum was originally known as “Hadrian’s Mausoleum” and was a testament to the power and greatness of the Roman Empire.
The Secret Passage and the Legend of the Archangel
One of the most intriguing features of Castel Sant’Angelo is the secret passage connecting the castle to the Vatican. This passage was built in the 14th century to allow the pope to escape in case of danger. Legend has it that during the plague of 590 AD, Pope Gregory I had a vision of Archangel Michael appearing on top of the mausoleum, announcing the end of the epidemic. In honor of this legend, the castle was renamed Castel Sant’Angelo.
The Papal Residence
Over the centuries, Castel Sant’Angelo has served several functions, including as a military stronghold and papal residence. During the Renaissance, the castle was renovated and decorated by renowned artists such as Bernini. Today, the rooms of the castle offer a fascinating insight into papal life during those historical periods.
The Panoramic View of Rome
The top of Castel Sant’Angelo offers a breathtaking panoramic view of Rome. From the terrace, you can admire the panorama of the Eternal City, with St. Peter’s Dome towering above the Vatican and the ancient streets of Rome winding beneath you.
Visit and Useful Tips
Here is some useful information for planning your visit to Castel Sant’Angelo:
- Opening Hours: Opening hours may vary, so be sure to check the hours before your visit.
- Tickets: You can purchase tickets locally or online in advance to avoid queues.
- Appropriate Clothing: Since the castle houses places of worship, it is important to dress appropriately, covering shoulders and knees.
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To make your trip to Rome even more special and comfortable, consider renting a scooter from Vittoria Rent. With a scooter, you can explore the city at your leisure, easily reaching places like Castel Sant’Angelo and discovering the Eternal City in a unique and personal way.