Castel Sant’Angelo, Rome

The UNESCO World Heritage area of Rome is awash with famous and dramatic sights and buildings, such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Vatican (which, strictly speaking, is a city within a city), the Forum, the Trevi Fountain… the list is endless! And the Castel Sant’Angelo is right up there with them.

Castel Sant'Angelo, on the banks of the River Tiber

Castel Sant’Angelo, on the banks of the River Tiber

Crossing Ponte Sant'Angelo

Crossing Ponte Sant’Angelo

Castel Sant’Angelo (Castle of the Holy Angel) has stood for almost two millennia. Constructed on the orders of the Roman Emperor Hadrian (the one with the Wall) as a mausoleum for himself and his family, it was completed in 139 AD. At that time it was the tallest building in Rome.

Hadrian's original mausoleum

Hadrian’s original mausoleum

Now, you might think that once a tomb, always a tomb. Slightly bizarrely though, over the last two millennia, the Mausoleum of Hadrian has been repurposed time and time again.

View across the centre of Rome

View across the centre of Rome

In 401 AD it was converted into a fortress, hence its current name of Castel Sant’Angelo. At that time, the structure was expanded and incorporated into the defensive walls surrounding the city.

Looking down on some of the Castel's defensive walls

Looking down on some of the Castel’s defensive walls

Massive ballista in the Courtyard of Honour

Massive ballista in the Courtyard of Honour

During the Middle Ages, Castel Sant’Angelo was castle and prison. Later it became a refuge for popes during times of danger. In fact, the ‘secret’ passage that connects the fortress to the Vatican still exists.

The drum of Hadrian's Mausoleum topped by the Papal Apartments, built almost 1500 years later

The drum of Hadrian’s Mausoleum topped by the Papal Apartments, built almost 1500 years later

The Vatican (the Vatican corridor can be seen in the foreground on the right)

The Vatican (the Vatican corridor can be seen in the foreground on the right)

The Vatican Corridor leaving the Castel

The Vatican Corridor leaving the Castel

Terrace table with a view...

Terrace table with a view…

...Of St. Peter's Basilica

…Of St. Peter’s Basilica

Today, Castel Sant’Angelo is a spectacular museum. And for me the best exhibit is the building itself!

The main ramp winding up inside Hadrians mausoleum

The main ramp winding up inside Hadrians mausoleum

Staircase built by Pope Alexander VI

Staircase built by Pope Alexander VI

Inside the treasury... at the heart of the original building, this was probably the Emperor Hadrian's tomb

Inside the treasury… at the heart of the original building, this was probably the Emperor Hadrian’s tomb

The upper level of Castel Sant'Angelo

The upper level of Castel Sant’Angelo

18th Century bronze sculpture of the Archangel Michael

18th Century bronze sculpture of the Archangel Michael

This post was inspired by the photo themes of Inner and Outer from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge and Repurpose from Krista of The Daily Post.

The view (with a big-ish lens) from Terrazza del Gianicolo

The view (with a big-ish lens) from Terrazza del Gianicolo

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About Jaspa

Star of my own award-winning adventure novels, Jaspa's Journey. Geocaching addict & F1 fan. Adventure Journeyer & blogger extraordinaire. Check out my website: www.jaspasjourney.com And don’t forget to download the books and see what the buzz is all about!
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3 Responses to Castel Sant’Angelo, Rome

  1. Pingback: Repurpose: Mail Distribution Center | What's (in) the picture?

  2. Cee Neuner says:

    This is a wonderful post as always. ;D

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