Castel Sant’Angelo is one of the most prominent sights when you cross the river Tevere from the Historic Centre of Rome over to the Vatican side. After crossing a tiny bridge over the Tevere, Castel Sant’Angelo will definitely catch your attention, with its height and decorative statues and bronze sculptures.
At the very top of the castle is a bronze statue, representing Michael the Archangel. The statue was sculpted in the XVIII century by a Dutch sculptor called Peter Anton von Verschaffelt. It is this angel which gives the castle its name, which in English means “The Castle of the Holy Angel”.
Like many of the most exuberant buildings in Europe, Castel Sant’Angelo was built as a imperial tomb. Emperor Hadrian (year 76 to 138 AD) is buried there, along with members of his family. Initially, the emperor was buried in a smaller mausoleum, around which the castle was later built.
Several popes used the castle as an alternative fortress and in Rome there is a legend that supposedly there is a secret passage from the Vatican to the castle going underneath the few hundred meters that separate it from the Vatican Basilica.
Today, Castel Sant’Angelo hosts a museum which is very popular among tourists. From the castle there is a direct line of sight with the Vatican Basilica, which makes it easy to locate yourself once in the vicinities.
From April to September : 9AM to 7PM
From October to March : 9AM to 2PM
To get there take the underground metro line to Lepanto, line A, exit at the Tevere. It is very easy to get there by foot either from the Tevere and Trastevere regions and from the historical center it is a 15 to 20 minute walk.