Built, as was the Elian bridge in front, by the Emperor Hadrian (117-138) as a Mausoleum for himself and his successors, it was completed by Antoninus Pius in 139. In 271, the Emperor Aurelian incorporated the pile into the defence system he designed: it lost its function as a tomb to become a fortress.
In 1277 it was occupied by Nicholas II who connected it to the Vatican by the famous corridor, a safety passage which runs along the top of the encircling wall of the Vatican. Hencefort, it remained under the control of the Popes who used it as a fortress, to impress, but also as a prison and a place for torture.
The Castle is divided into five floors:
Floor I from which starts the famous winding ramp about 400 feet long, a stupendous Roman costruction.
Floor II (or floor of the prisons) with horrible cells, called "historical" prisons, and store-rooms for wheat and oil.
Floor III (or military floor) with two big courtyards.
Floor IV (or papal floor) with the loggia of Julius II, by Bramante, in the principal part of the Castle and the papal apartment, consisting of magnificent rooms with frescoes by Giulio Romano, Perin del Vaga and others painters of Raphael's school, the Sala del Tesoro and Cagliostro's Room, the prison cell of the famous alchemist of the 18th century.
Floor V (top floor) with a big terrace, dominated by an Archangel in bronze by Wersschaffelt, from which we have a fine panorama of the city.
Castel Sant'Angelo or Hadrian's Mausoleum dates back to AD 123.
It became a fortress and prison in the Middle Ages and then a papal residence in the 16th century. Since then it has remained under the control of the popes and there is a long passageway linking it to St Peters.
We came across the Mausoleum on my 3rd visit to Rome and I couldn't believe I had not visitied it previously.
It was very interesting to walk through some of the old rooms and exhibitions.
But the main draw card for me was a climb to the top of the building, timed to co-incide with a spectacular sunset over St Peters Basilica and the city of Rome.
This was a fortress for the popes in the 6th Century.
Pope Gregory the Great saw a vision of an angel here telling him that this would be the end of the Plague in Rome. And this is how the building was named!
This is located close to the Vatican.%C
This building, originally the Tomb of Hadrian, who started constructing it in the early-mid 2nd century, has had a few different guises. The Romans in the late empire used it as part of their fortifications and as such it became the scene of some fighting during the barbarian invasions. It was later taken over in the late middle ages by the popes, who used it as a fortress and prison.
It is massive and much of the original Roman construction remains. Nearby is the Ponte Sant'Angelo, also originally built under Hadrian.
Originally an imperial tomb built by Hadrian it became the dynastic sepulcher of the Antonine's.
Work began in 123 AD but was only completed in 139 AD after the emperor's death. The mausoleum was linked to the Campus Martius by the Pons Aelius (now the Ponte Sant'Angelo).
Through the ages is has served in varying capacities: first as a fortress, then as a noble dwelling, and finally a papal residence.
It was planned by the emperor Hadrien to be his tomb and was started in 123 a.c. and was called the Hadrien Mausoleum.
Between 275 and 403 , it was fortified to defend from attacks.
It is said it became a castle around the 5th century.
Around 1277, nicolas 3 unitied the castle to the Vatican with a wall called "il passeto".It enabled the popes to go from one to an another.
It took its name "St Angelo castle" in the 12th century after a very old legend: during a procession in 590 to implore the "virgin" to put a stop to the plague, an angel appeared on the top of the Mausoleum, putting back his sword in his sheath in sign of grace.
I had taken this picture of the archangel
not nowing that it was made by a Flemish person.
'Peter Verschaffelt' made it.
Peter Verschaffelt was born in 'Gent ' in 1710.
'Pope Benedictus XIV ' ordered a new angel
after the last one got damaged by bad weather.
You can still see that one in the courtyyard.
In 1752 the present on got inaugurated.
It was in 1798 the French painted it in the
colors of France. Red , white and blue and
putted a Phrygian cap on its head.
They nicknamed it 'Genius of freeing
France and of Rome'.
A really bad joke if you ask me.
But that was nothing compared to what
happened to the 5 angels before this one.
The first added at the end of the 11th century
just faded away since it was made in wood.
The second one in marble was destroyed
by an attack in 1379.
Seventy years later number three was ready.
A marble one with bronze wings. He blew up
when the powder magazine got hit by lightning.
The next one in gilded Bronze , number 4 ,
was melted in 1544 to make cannons.
The fifth one - I already told you..the weather.
Castel Sant Angelo, with its fierce sword-wielding angel statue at the very top, was designed as a tomb for the emperor Hadrian, but later on it was used as a dungeon and as a fortress to protect the Vatican. There are still some cannons and other weapons on display, left over from that time. There are also some little artist studios, and a cafe. Great views from the top! The Ponte Sant Angelo bridge in front of it crosses over the Tiber, and has beautiful angel sculptures all along it, carved by Bernini.
This castle was right down the street from where I lived for 7 months. There is a park around the base of the castle where I used to spend my afternoons playing with the little kids i took care of.
The castle itself is cool and has a fascinating history that I don't know enough about. It served many purposes over its years, such as a prison and a refuge for popes. The street in front of the castle along the river is one of the prettiest areas to walk. There are always vendors and lots of people around, and from there you can get a really good view up via della concillazione to St. Peter's. This picture is from across the bridge. This is also one of my favorita bridges, completely decorated with marble statues.
Anciently it was called Adrian's Mausoleum because it had been built by the Emperor Adrianus to be his imperial tomb. Famous prisoners were shut up in the Castle. Clemente VII took shelter in the castle and witnessed the horrible thefts and sacrileges made by the troops of the Emperor Carlo V in 1527. At the moment, it is an important museum of art and military history.
We didn't actually go into the Castel Sant' Angelo, we just had a walk around it. Never the less, it was quite impressive.
This huge round building stands at the opposite end of Via Della Conciliazione from the Vatican, on the edge of the River Tiber.
A word of warning though: there are lots and lots of people outside trying to sell everything from watches to handbags.
The Castel Sant' Angelo appeared to be the center of activity for these guys. We are not sure if there is always this many of them or whether it is just on a Sunday, but be warned, there are lots!
Again though, we did not actually enter the Castel Sant' Angelo, but would certainly recommend going to at least have a look at it!
This fortress which stood at the entrance to Vatican for centuries was begun by Hadrian around 128 as a mausoleum for him and his family. The mausoleum was finished in 139 and Hadrian and many succeeding emperors were buried here. By the 6th century the building was gradually transformed into a castle and it was used to protect the popes for nearly 1000 years. According to legend the name of the castle was given during the plague of 590 when Pope Gregory the Great who was passing nearby had a vision of an angel sheathing his sword atop the stone walls.
In front of the castle stands Ponte Sant'Angelo (Bridge of Angels) which was built by Hadrian as a suitable approach to his mausoleum. The bridge was transformed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini who designed the ten statues of Angels.
Rome's famous castle, this was at Christmas last year December of 2002.
This is the Castle and bridge of St. Angelo.
You can see the Christmas tree in front of the castle. It was a great time to be there.
We've grown so accustomed to the holiness and prayerfulness of Pope John Paul that it's sometimes hard to remember that the Popes weren't always so spiritual. Back in the day, they used to go to war and resort to deviousness just like any good Italian principality. When such tactics resulted in, let's say, an invasion by the French, the Popes barricaded themselves in this castle, located next to the Vatican. A secret passage ran from the castle back to Saint Peter's, just in case.
I love visiting this building. It was originally built by Hadrian as a tomb but has served other purposes over the hundreds of years since then. I was reading Benvenuto Cellini's autobiography when I visited and found it all the more interesting. Cellini was imprisoned here for a time and made a dramatic escape.
From the top of the building you can get a beautiful view of Rome.