Posted by: Debra Kolkka | January 7, 2016

Castel Sant’Angelo…Rome

On a recent trip to Rome I was a bit unlucky with the weather. It was raining quite heavily so I took the opportunity to go inside the Castel Sant’Angelo. I have walked past it many times and have always been curious. The rainy day did me a favour.

Castel Sant'Angelo Rome

What is now The National Museum of Castel Sant’Angelo was originally the tomb of emperor Hadrian.

Trajan’s adopted son, Hadrian was emperor of Rome between 117 and 38 AD. A noble and highly cultured figure who was strong and austere, he was a brilliant soldier and an astute politician. He had a predilection for art, music, philosophy and literature and is remembered as one of the best of the Roman Empire.

For himself and his family he built a massive sepulchre just outside the heart of the city, the Ager Vaticanus. The mausoleum was to tower over the others beside it and be linked to the centre of Rome by the richly ornamented Pons Aelius, constructed by the same emperor.

The bridge is still standing and is now called Ponte Sant’Angelo. The three central arches remain from the Roman era. The 10 statues now in place were added much later, in 1668. Two were created by Bernini and considered to precious to remain outside and were moved to the church of Sant’Andrea Delle Fratte. Replicas were made by Bernini’s students.

Ponte Sant'Angelo Rome

For a €9 entry fee you can enter the museum and wander freely through this incredible building…come for a walk.

There are huge sculptures from ancient times.

Castel Sant'Angelo Rome

Castel Sant'Angelo Rome

Castel Sant'Angelo Rome

It is possible to get up close and personal with the detail of the construction…it was built to last.

Castel Sant'Angelo Rome

Castel Sant'Angelo Rome

The pathways give a wonderful perspective of the layout. The original structure was on three levels, the outer quadrangular base, the massive cylindrical core covered with green vegetation from the centre of which rose another smaller cylinder. This was surmounted by a quadrilateral, a four horse chariot bearing the emperor. It must have looked spectacular…it still does.

Castel Sant'Angelo Rome

Castel Sant'Angelo Rome

Castel Sant'Angelo Rome

Castel Sant'Angelo Rome

The statue of Michael the Archangel displayed in the courtyard is by Raffaello da Montelupo. It is 3.3 metres tall and its copper wings have perforations to reduce wind resistance.

Castel Sant'Angelo Rome

Castel Sant'Angelo Rome

Castel Sant'Angelo Rome

There is a very cute cafe.

Castel Sant'Angelo Rome

There are amazing views from various vantage points.

Castel Sant'Angelo Rome

Castel Sant'Angelo Rome

Castel Sant'Angelo Rome

Castel Sant'Angelo Rome

Castel Sant'Angelo Rome

Castel Sant'Angelo Rome

I find it incredible that we can walk in the footsteps of Roman emperors…don’t you?

Castel Sant'Angelo Rome


  1. Thanks for the pics Deb. This is my most favourite building in Romr

    • It could easily become mine too, but I find it difficult to get past the Pantheon. This was first time inside, despite walking past it many times…I will be back.

  2. What a fabulous post! Amazing pictures! I love Rome <3

    • I love Rome too. I have been many times but I never tire of it.

  3. Once I was in Rome and our tourguide told us there was a secret corridor from the Vatican to the Castel (for the Pope!)

    • I was there quite late in the day, not long before closing time, so I didn’t have time to explore the whole place. I will rerturn.

  4. I visited some time ago. I remember a long sweeping set of stairs and a secret escape tunnel from the Vatican.

    • I will look for it next time I visit, I didn’t have enough time to cover the whole place.

  5. so beautiful photographs and castle, dear Debra, I loved them, especially with the lights… Thank you, love, nia

    • I have walked across the bridge many times, but had no idea how old it is…incredible.

  6. Being up close and personal with such buildings gives me goose bumps. What an extraordinary structure.

    • It is quite difficult to get an idea of the scale of this place from photos. It is huge.

  7. Rainy days are great – Laurie & I visited many years ago – love your photos

    • I don’t know why I have not been inside before, but I will certainly return.

  8. Wonderful dear Debra!!! Thank you!

    • Those Romans sure knew how to build things to last.

  9. Brought back lovely memories from the summer. Love Rome. Thanks for sharing, great photo.

    • I remember being impressed by this 43 years ago on my first trip to Rome.

  10. There’s always so much to see in Rome. I enjoyed your rainy day photos, Debra. 🙂

    • I have been to Rome many times but I feel I have only scratched the surface.

      • I’ve only been three times, so I obviously have seen almost nothing. 😕

  11. It is interesting to know that both Trajan and his adopted son, Hadrian, were born in Italica, a town located some 6 km away from Seville, Spain. It is not clear whether the Ulpii family was originally Roman or Iberian. In any case, they were both great Emperors.
    The Castel is a most remarkable building that has seen quite a few historical events. And yes, there is a secret passage that links it to the Vatican.

  12. What a majestic structure…..I need to get to Rome!

    • Yes, you must go to Rome. It is magnificent.

      • I’ve been to so many places in Italy, but so far the only part of Rome has been Fiumicino airport….

  13. Yes totally find it incredible. Enjoyed that walk with you Deb. Marvelous photos and interesting historical facts plus your quirky captions. Very good.

    • I didn’t climb right to the top…I must return.

  14. This is an amazing structure. You could easily spend many hours there. I saw my best views of Rome from here.

    • The views were excellent, probably even better on a clear day.

  15. We finally toured this wonderful building last fall on a very hot day. Stopped at one of those tables with the view for a cold beer. Thanks for the great photos.

  16. I can find no reference here to Giacomo Puccini’s opera Tosca set in Rome in 1800.The third Act takes place on the ramparts of the Castel Sant’Angelo.
    It is here that the painter Cavaradossi is executed by a platoon of soldiers and where Tosca hurls herself from the parapet to her death on the ground below.But the best is the orchestral introduction to this act as dawn breaks. A shepherd boy is heard singing down below as he trails some sheep with bells alongside the river Tiber.At the first faint rays of dawn,the city bells ring for matins.There is no better way to soak up the atmosphere of Castel Sant”Angelo than accompanied by Puccini’s music.The composer visited Rome at day break in order to get the exact bell tone correct.What a gift he left us!

    • Thank you for your information. I didn’t know about this.

  17. Great pictures and awesome post, thanks for sharing! The history of Rome is second to none, what an amazing city.

  18. It is an amazing space inside isn’t it. I recall being taken aback too, not knowing quite what await. Marabella was quite small when we visited together. We said it like a city within a city – and a fabulous vantage point as you demonstrate so well. Thanks Deb!

  19. Exellent!!!

  20. Those copper wings are pretty extra-ordinary. c

  21. Castel Sant’Angelo is such a fascinating place….!

  22. Thanks for the photos. I think I could live in that cafe’! Oh, and the rest looked pretty damn fabulous as well 🙂

  23. Wonderful History – Rome. Thanks for sharing- makes me realise how much more I need to see and do in Rome. Deb you really say it so well in pictures.

    • Rome Isco fabulous! I can’t wait to be back there.

  24. Saw it some years ago – must revisit – great post Debra

    • It is a great place to visit.

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