Castel Sant' Angelo
Castel Sant’ Angelo, one of Rome’s most iconic landmarks, represents a myriad of things -- it stands as a museum, a palace, a fortress, a hideaway, and a monument for Emperor Hadrian. Historically significant structures can be found all over Rome but none seems to represent so eloquently the city’s impressive transformation throughout the years as much as Castel Sant’ Angelo.
At first glance, the commanding structure nestled near the banks of the Tiber River seems to be nothing more than a beautiful architectural masterpiece. But beyond Castel Sant’ Angelo’s impressive facade is a history filled with death, and wars. Built around 123-139 AD, the castle has been a witness to many wars fought within Rome. Apart from history, the castle is also famous for its legend represented by the eye-catching statue of Michael the Archangel found at the peak of Castel Sant’ Angelo. Many believed that the angel appeared on top of the structure to put an end to the 590-year plague that made Rome suffer.
Today, this famous Rome attraction houses the Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant’ Angelo which holds an extensive collection of sculptures, paintings, military memorabilia, and ancient firearms which date back to the 13th century. Many of these medieval firearms were used by protectors of the castle who utilized the secret passage Passetto di Borgo to protect the Pope and the Vatican during times of danger.
Explore the castle’s upper floors and prepare to be impressed by the luxurious Renaissance interiors which include the sophisticated Sala Paolina which comes with frescoes of Alexander the Great’s life. Don’t miss the famous castle terraces mentioned in the immortal play Tosca provides breathtaking views of the city.
Visiting Castel Sant’ Angelo and learning about its history gives any tourist a renewed appreciation for Italy’s “Eternal City.” A trip to this iconic castle is not only a treat to the eyes, it’s one that will stay in memory for a long time.