Castel Sant'Angelo

Castel Sant'Angelo information

Rome , Italy
Lungotevere Castello 50
+390 6 681 91 11
Getting there
Bus: Piazza Pia
adult/reduced €8.50/6
Opening hours
9am-7.30pm Tue-Sun, last admission 6.30pm
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With its chunky round keep, this castle is an instantly recognisable landmark. Built as a mausoleum for the emperor Hadrian, it was converted into a papal fortress in the 6th century and named after an angelic vision that Pope Gregory the Great had in 590. Nowadays, it houses an eclectic collection of paintings, sculpture, military memorabilia and medieval firearms.

Many of these weapons were used by soldiers fighting to protect the castle, which, thanks to a secret 13th-century passageway to the Vatican (the Passetto di Borgo ), provided sanctuary to many popes in times of danger. Most famously, Pope Clemente VI holed up here during the 1527 sack of Rome.

The castle's upper floors are filled with lavishly decorated Renaissance interiors, including, on the 4th floor, the beautifully frescoed Sala Paolina. Two storeys further up, the terrace, immortalised by Puccini in his opera Tosca , offers great views over Rome.

Additional fees may be charged during temporary exhibitions.