Built as a cylindrical mausoleum by Rome Emperor Hadrian on the Tiber River just east of what is now the Vatican,

Castel Sant’Angelo was converted into a military fortress before the Pope fortified it in the 14th century. The structure is named after the statue of Archangel Michele (Michael) found at the top. Castel Sant’Angelo is now a museum, the Museo Nazionale de Castel Sant’Angelo.

On the top floor there is a café with a beautiful view of Rome.

If you get there early for lunch, it may be possible to snag a table with a great view of St. Peters church.

Photo of the view after you climbed on top made by me

How do you get there

Bus lines 80, 87, 280 and 492 will get you close to the castle. You will find a taxi rank at Piazza P. Paoli. From the center near Piazza Farnese, it is a very nice walk along Via Giulia and then, after a right turn on the Tiber, a walk over the Sant Angelo Bridge, which is lined with statues. A visit to Castel Sant’Angelo can easily be combined with a visit to the Vatican.

More about Castel Sant Angelo

The castle has five floors. The first has a winding ramp of the Roman Building, the second contains the prison cells, the third is the military floor with large courtyards, the fourth is the floor of the popes, and contains the most beautiful art, and the fifth is a large terrace with a nice view over the city.

In 1277, Castel Sant’Angelo was connected to the Vatican by a rather infamous passageway called Passetto di Borgo, where the castle became a refuge for popes when Rome was under siege. Castel Sant’Angelo was an equal opportunity castle, but also hosted popes in its prisons. You can clearly see the Passetto running to the north of the aptly named Via dei Corridori, the “Way of the Corridors”, on a Google Map.

Tips for your visit at Sant Angelo

It will be a real shame to miss out on a visit to the magnificent Castel Sant’Angelo. Don’t limit yourself to the outside only, because the military museum and the papal residences are also worth a visit.

Also, do not forget to put on good shoes, the stairs are not straight and you will need to walk a lot during your visit.
Around Castel Sant Angelo is a park where you can stroll around in the summer and spring.

Got excited and wanna visit Castle Sant Angelo too? Click here to book your tickets to skip the line.

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