CASTEL SANT’ANGELO TOUR – ROME
Visit Castel Sant’Angelo, in Rome, from imperial Roman monument to defensive Vatican fortress.
The Castel Sant’Angelo tour will show you the pope’s secret hiding place.
The Castel Sant’Angelo tour will show you a defensive Vatican fortress that was used by many popes as an escape during troubling times. “Castel Sant’Angelo” was originally a “mausoleum” built by the roman emperor “Hadrian”, and its story is deeply connected to the story of the city of “Rome” and “the Vatican”....
“Castel Sant’Angelo” was built between 123 and 139 AD, during the age of the Roman Empire, and it was meant to be a tomb for “Emperor Hadrian” and his family. This “mausoleum” became part of the “Aurelian Walls” in 403 AD, and from that moment on it was used as a fortress. “Castel Sant’Angelo” was used for defense during the famous “Sack of Rome”, when the “Visigoths”, a Germanic people, looted and pillaged the city.
According to tradition, “Castel Sant’Angelo” got its name from an event that happened in 590 AD. During that year Rome had been hit by the plague, and “Pope Gregory I” was leading a religious procession. When the Pope approached “Castel Sant’Angelo”, it is said that the “Archangel Michael” appeared to him and sheathed his sword. The pope interpreted this as a sign that the plague was coming to an end, and so it soon happened.
The Castel Sant’Angelo tour will take you to see one of the most important monuments in Rome, which has been a symbol of power for ancient Romans and popes alike. It was in 1367 that “Pope Urban V” was given the keys to “Castel Sant’Angelo”, which became a symbol of the power of the Vatican. It is here that the popes hid when their life was in danger, and they entered the fortress through the “Passetto del Borgo”, a secret passage built by “Pope Nicholas III”. Castel Sant’Angelo was famous for being an impenetrable fortress, and for this reason it became the place where “the archives and the treasure of the Vatican” were kept. It was also equipped with “jails” and a “court” to sentence criminals.
“Castel Sant’Angelo” has many cells that were used to hold many famous prisoners throughout the years. Perhaps the most famous of these was “Giordano Bruno”, who was tried for heresy by the “Roman inquisition”. He was found guilty of denying many Catholic doctrines, including the fact that the earth is at the center of the universe. He was burned at the stake in “Campo de’Fiori” in Rome in 1600.
The fortress was modified many times by the different popes who came into power, and the Castel Sant’Angelo tour will take you to see all the different areas, rooms, and fortifications of the castle that can be visited. One of the beautiful rooms you can see in “Castel Sant’Angelo” is the “Stufa”, a small private bathroom built by Pope Clement VII, which is decorated with frescoes depicting “nymphs”, “angels”, dolphins, seashells, and mythological creatures. Visit Castel Sant’Angelo and learn about the life and habits of the many popes who utilized this fortress in the past.
If you are interested in the history of the popes and the Vatican, we suggest you visit the Vatican Museums and the beautiful Sistine Chapel. The Vatican Museums are famous all over the world for having a rich collection of art pieces gathered by the popes throughout the centuries. You can visit them by finding a tour on the private tours section on our website.