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Castel Sant'Angelo

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In the Castel Sant'Angelo (Castle of the Holy Angel), the history of the Roman Empire is intertwined with that of the Renaissance. Indeed, this historic building was not only the burial place of the ancient Emperors, but also the Pope's home - a must-see for all history fans. Additionally, the terrace offers a wonderful view over the Italian capital.

Not surprisingly, Castel Sant'Angelo is a major tourist attraction in Rome. Book tickets in advance to be on the safe side.
Klaus KainzBy Klaus Kainz
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Admission Tickets

Buy tickets in advance for Castel Sant’Angelo and save time.
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Castel Sant'Angelo: Fast Track Ticket
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Castel Sant'Angelo: Fast Track Ticket + Guided Tour
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City passes

Combine your visit to Castel Sant'Angelo with other top attractions in Rome: Roma Pass and Omnia Card make it possible!
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Roma Pass: 48 or 72-Hour City Card with Transport
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Hop-On Hop-Off and Fast Track Entry: Omnia Rome and Vatican Pass
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Omnia Card: Vatican, Rome Catacomb & Open Bus (24h)
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More tickets & tours

Discover even more products around the impressive Castel Sant'Angelo.
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Rome: Castel Sant'Angelo Tour with Fast-Track Access
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Rome: Castel Sant’Angelo Skip-the-Line Ticket & Audio Guide
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Rome: Castel Sant'Angelo Skip-the-Line Entrance Ticket
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Rome: Small Group Guided Tour of Castel Sant'Angelo
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5 tips for visiting the Castel Sant'Angelo

Boat travels along the Tiber past the Castel Sant'Angelo | Photo: Unsplash, Kent Rebman - CC-BY-SA 2.0
1
Definitely visit the viewing deckDo not forget a visit to the terrace on the top floor! From there, you will get a breathtaking view of the historical Italian capital. The Castel Sant'Angelo is also open in the evening, so during the short autumn and winter days, you can enjoy Roman sunsets on the terrace.
One of the angels on the Angels' Bridge | Photo: Unsplash, tommao wang - CC-BY-SA 2.0
2
Take part in a guided tourGuided tours are held in English twice a day, two more in Italian. An advantage: With guided tours, you get to go to parts of the castle that are otherwise not accessible - such as the Passetto del Borgo (Pope's secret passage to St. Peter's Basilica), to historical parts of the prison and to the Stufetta, the sumptuous private quarters of Pope Clement VII. Alternatively, the sight offers an audio guide app available in 7 languages that provides context for the exhibition.
3
Don't miss out on the lightingAt night, the exterior facade of the Castel Sant'Angelo is at least as spectacular as its interior. Because of its lighting, the exterior of the fortress, especially as seen from the Ponte Sant'Angelo, leaves a strong impression.
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Have an espresso.If you like to linger in beautiful views, the attraction offers a cafe for snacks and coffee.
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Wear sturdy shoesWe recommend sturdy shoes and a water bottle. As you can only reach the top floor and terrace via a steep spiral ramp.

The main attractions in the Castel Sant'Angelo

The Castel Sant'Angelo features numerous attractions from different historical epochs, going back to antiquity. A spiral ramp that winds around the tower-like building leads to the five large exhibition areas of the monumental castle.
Ceiling in the Castel Sant'Angelo | Photo: Flickr, Gary Todd - CC-BY-SA 2.0

The Terrace

The bronze statue of Archangel Michael is located on the terrace, which also serves as a viewing platform over Rome.

Urn Hall

Here, the remains of various Roman emperors and their families are kept - a function that the Castel Sant’Angelo has fulfilled since antiquity.

Prison

On the 2nd level are the prison cells and the execution site.

Pope's Apartment and Treasury

On the 4th floor, both the treasury as well as the pope's living quarters are located. The latter are decorated with frescoes and sculptures as well as impressive paintings.

Castle of the Holy Angel Museum

The museum in Castel Sant’Angelo is dedicated to the history of Hadrian's Mausoleum, as well as weapons, interior furnishings and everyday objects from different periods.
The Angel's Bridge that leads to the Castel Sant'Angelo | Photo: Unsplash, Niccolò Chiamori - CC-BY-SA 2.0

The Castle of the Holy Angel - nearly 2,000 years of history

Standing on the banks of the Tiber, the Castle of the Holy Angel towers over Rome and the Vatican. Over its nearly two-thousand year history, the building has served as the mausoleum of powerful emperors, a military fortress, as well as the Pope's retreat.

Origins in Roman antiquity

Seven Roman emperors were buried in the Castel Sant'Angelo. Originally built between 134 and 139 AD as a tomb for the Roman Emperor Hadrian and his family, the fortress still served as the final resting place for those who succeeded him until the death of Caracalla in 217 AD. After the structure was converted into a military fortress in 401 AD and shortly thereafter robbed during the sack of Rome by the Visigoths in 410 AD, many treasures of the former tomb were lost. Remaining material from the mausoleum was used to build churches when Christianity made its entrance in ancient Rome.

The legend of the Castel Sant'Angelo

Pope Gregory is said to have had a vision of the Archangel Michael on the roof of the castle in 590 AD - hence its name today. According to this story, the Archangel spread his sword over the castle and thus brought an end to the plague. Therefore, a marble sculpture of the Archangel has adorned the castle since 1536, where it would stay for about 200 years.

Refuge of the Popes

At the latest under Pope Clement VII, the Castel Sant'Angelo took on a whole new role - especially as a papal refuge. During the renewed plundering of Rome in 1527, Clement VII sought protection in the extremely steadfast fortress. Since then, the appearance of the former imperial tomb changed drastically. Thus, Leo X had a chapel with a Madonna by Raffaello da Montelupo, who also designed the original sculpture of the Archangel Michael, built. Paul III, on the other hand, had a splendid apartment built that guaranteed the popes a suitable place to stay during potential sieges.

The Fortress As A Museum

Since the beginning of the 20th century, the Castel Sant'Angelo has been a museum. A multi-year restoration was necessary for this, after it had sometimes served as a store for war materials and was shut down in 1901. At the initiative of two Italian military men, the historical treasures were renovated and opened to the public from 1906. In 1925 the building was inaugurated as a museum by King Vittorio Emanuele III.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should I plan for a visit?

An average tour in the Castel Sant'Angelo lasts about one hour, but beyond that, guests can also spend any further time in the building. Read more.

Is the building accessible to people with disabilities?

A wheelchair-accessible entrance can be found at the address Lungotevere Castello 50. Inside the building, ramps enable access to the various levels. Read more.

General information

opening hours

The Castel Sant’ Angelo is open daily from 9:00 am to 7:30 pm. Last admission is at 6:30 pm.

tickets

Tickets for the Castel Sant'Angelo cost 14 € for adults and 7 € for students from EU countries. Children and teenagers under 18 years can visit for free; on the first Sunday of each month, admission is free for anyone.

address

Castel Sant’Angelo
Lungotevere Castello
50-00193 Rome
Italy

how to get there

The Castel Sant'Angelo is within walking distance of the Vatican. The metro stops nearby, the closest stations are Lepanto and Ottaviano on line A. The nearest bus stop is Crescenzio/Orazio, which is served by lines 49, 280, 492, and 990.

website

Official site: https://www.castelsantangelo.com/
Klaus Kainz
Written byKlaus KainzAs a studied historian, Klaus is not only interested in historical sights, but also in their fascinating backgrounds. For TicketLens, he gets to the heart of the most interesting information about attractions and travel destinations.
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