Although it's probably not one of the most famous places in Rome among tourists, Castel Sant’Angelo really has an interesting history and worth a visit for the beautiful things hidden inside and the amazing view of Rome you can get from its different levels.
Located on the right bank of Tiber river, the building originally represented a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian built from 123 AD to 139 AD. The mausoleum was then connected to the other side of the city with the construction of a new bridge, now known as Ponte Sant’Angelo. During the Baroque period many marble statues were added to decorate this fascinating bridge.
When the construction of the Aurelian Wall started in nearly 270 AD, the Hadrian’s mausoleum became part of the defensive wall around Rome and was slowly turned into a fortress during the centuries. In 1277 the papacy acquired it and the ancient mausoleum became a refugee used by former popes in case of danger.
The secret passage of Passetto Borgo connects the castle to the Vatican. At the top of the fortress stands the bronze statue depicting the Archangel Micheal. According to legend, the archangel appeared on the fortress in 590 and put end to the terrible plague that had infested the city of Rome. The fortress was then renamed Castel Sant’Angelo, in honor of the archangel and this miraculous event.
Inside the fortress it’s possible to visit the papal apartments. You’ll find beautiful rooms decorated with frescoes and artworks. Several floors under the apartments there are the ancient prisons were enemies were kept and tortured.
The spiraling ramp, that was part of the original mausoleum, is really huge and ascends upward the Castle for about 400 feet.
The view you can get from the top of the fortress is certainly of the the highlight of the visit to Castel Sant’Angelo.
Take some time to admire Rome and its buildings and don’t forget to take pictures!