The castle at Rome, Sant Angelo

Well going to Rome I thought of Roman ruins and narrow streets, great pasta etc. but never figure there was a castle ,even if old as well.

In my trips there on business, I went around the colosseum area, but never into the Vatican areas. This time been a family vacation wandered all over, and caught this wonderful castle near the Vatican. I am talking about the Castel Sant’Angelo or the castle of saint Angel. The official site is here

The castle grounds were done in 135AD and completed in 139AD, the ashes of emperors Hadrian and Augustus are in its stones, and it was done as a mausoleum to house the ones from Hadrian (emperor born in what is today Spain).  The appearances of an angel had a lot to do with the name of the castle.

It passes by the Aurelian walls right into the Vatican area, with a great moat area now with benches and shade trees, up above by the Walls there is a semi circular pathway of beautiful shaded trees and benches with colorful stands selling gelato ,and even hot dogs with souvenirs stand with great prices always negotiated down. We purchase t-shirts, scarfs, belts, and caps all starting much higher but always reduce from 3 to 5 euros.

Again, the Roma tourist office is here

A bit on the history of the Castle to follow:

Started construction under orders of emperor Hadrian in 135AD  to be his mausoleum, the building is the counterpart of the tomb of Augustus. It was  completed by Antoninus Pius in 139AD. The Castle, a massive Rotunda covered with travertine marble,  surmounted by a Quadriga bronze figure of the emperor Hadrian . Hadrian’s ashes are deposited in 139AD. Caracalla was the last emperor to be buried. Very quickly, the building is diverted from its funeral purposes to become military. It is integrated into the Aurelian wall in 403, as the advanced bastion. 
The Castle takes its present name from a legend appeared in the 9th century, about the great plague of 590AD. The Pope then Grégoire Ier, had an apparition of the Archangel Michael at the top of the Castle, handing his sword to the scabbard, thus signifying the end of the epidemic. To commemorate the event, a statue of Angel Hair piece. In 846, the Saracens made a sudden incursion in the town, looted St. Peter’s Basilica and devastate the Borgo. To protect it, Léon IV connects it by a wall to the Castle. The delineated forms the “leonine city. The castle is then transformed into prison, where four of the popes of the 9th century were killed.  During the long struggle between the Pope and the Emperor, the castle became a refuge for Popes. Gregory VII is entrenched in 1083 to resist to Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor, and in 1227, Nicolas III built a corridor suspended connecting the castle to the Vatican, thus providing a possibility of quick escapes.
When urban V from Avignon return to Rome, he is giving back not the keys to the city but those of the Castle, which reprises his role of fortress protecting the Vatican. The many renovations allow Alexandre VI  to take refuge when Rome was occupied by the King of France Charles VIII in 1494 (first war of Italy) and Clement VII to resist six months at headquarters of the lansquenets of Charles Quint during the terrible sacking of Rome in 1527. He manages to escape in disguise, by the door back garden Saint-Pierre to reach Orvieto. The castle did not lose its status of a prison. According to tradition, Benvenuto Cellini there is thus enclosed. Until the 19th century, the Castle serves as  the papacy political prison with such guests as Marco Antonio de Dominis (1624), and Niccolò Cosciaen (1733). On July 21, 1871, the pontifical flag is brought down for the last time by the Papal troops, under the eyes of the Italian army, which took possession of the place.
Restored at the beginning of the 20th century, the Castel Sant’Angelo is a museum since 1925, where it houses a collection of paintings and armor. Amongst which are :
Apollo room, decorated with frescoes by Perin del Vaga (1547);
the room of Clement VII (paintings from the 15th and 16th centuries);
the Loggia of Paul III, painted by Antonio da Sangallo the younger.
the Loggia of Julius II from 1504;
Paul III Farnèse apartments, decorated between 1542 and 1549  with  frescoes
Salle Pauline decorated of the life of Alexander the great of Marco Pino;
the room of the Adrianeum which houses the Bacchanalia of Dosso Dossi;
the room of garlands, Saint Jerome of Lorenzo Lotto.

Finally, Giacomo Puccini played on the ramparts of the castle the last scenes of Tosca: Cavaradossi, having dreamed happiness past  was shot on the terrace by the firing squad and Floria Tosca of despair, flows of the parapet into the Tiber.

A must see while in Rome, I give some glimpses of it in the following pictures. Ciao Roma.
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