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Perched on the banks of the River Tiber, you can instantly recognize Castel Sant’Angelo by its massive round keep with a statue of Michael the Archangel on top. Learn more about visiting this iconic landmark in Rome, Italy.
Castel Sant’Angelo History
The Roman Emperor Hadrian initially commissioned Castel Sant’Angelo as a mausoleum for his family. His and his family’s ashes were placed here after their deaths. Succeeding emperors also had their ashes placed inside the mausoleum in what is now known as the Treasury Room.
But in 401, the emperor Flavius Honorius Augustus converted the building into a military fortress. And during the sacking of Rome in 410, looters made off with many of the remains from the mausoleum.
The castle came to be named after the Archangel Michael during its time as a military fortress (the name means “Castle of the Holy Angel”). It is said that Michael appeared on top of the mausoleum, sheathing his sword as a sign of the end of the plague of 590.
During the 14th century, the popes converted the building into a castle, a residence, and a prison. Pope Nicholas III even connected the castle to the Vatican via an above-ground tunnel called the Passetto di Borgo so that he would have an escape route in the event of an emergency.
Touring Castel Sant’Angelo
You can take a self-guided tour of the castle. This allows you to go up on the castle walls, inside the mausoleum where Hadrian was buried, inside the papal rooms, inside the armory, through their rotating art exhibition space, and to the top of the tower where you get a great view of Rome.
The castle has seven levels, so be prepared for lots of walking and a lot of stairs!
There is so much to discover at this great Roman castle, so allot plenty of time for your tour. There are seven levels of exhibits and rooms to explore. You can expect to spend about 2 hours touring the entire castle.
They also offer a “Secret Castle” guided tour that takes you behind the scenes of the castle. On this tour, you’ll see rooms not usually open to the public, like the walkway to the Vatican, the dungeons, and the Pope’s 16th century bathroom. The Secret Castle tour is an additional fee.
Visiting Castel Sant’Angelo
The castle is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. — 7:30 p.m.
Admission to Castel Sant’Angelo costs €19 for adults and €3.50 for children 17 and under.
It’s best to arrive earlier in the morning so that you can avoid the crowds, as with many other sites in Rome. It takes about two hours or more to tour the museum.
Top Castel Sant’Angelo Tours
There’s a lot to see in Rome! To take some of the stress out of planning your visit, opt for a guided tour. Check out this list of the top tours that include Castel Sant’Angelo.
- Secrets Beneath Castel Sant’Angelo Guided Tour
- Castel Sant’Angelo Guided Tour with Fast-Track Access
- Small Group Guided Tour of Castel Sant’Angelo
Castle Count: 31
If you just love Italian castles, check out Sforza Castle in Milan, Italy.
Ready to visit Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome, Italy? Plan your trip with these tips.
- Book your flight: Find the cheapest flights using Skyscanner, my favorite flight search engine.
- Find accommodation: You can find top hotels in Rome using Booking.com.
- Get packing: Make sure you’ve packed everything you need with my packing list resources.
- Save on Attractions: Save big on admission to top Rome attractions using the Go City Rome pass or the iVenture Rome Flexi pass.
Have you visited Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome, Italy? Let me know about your visit in the comments!
Italy is on my bucket list of places to go one day. Maybe one day soon….
Fingers crossed to be able to safely travel again soon!!
Hii I loved your post I visited Italy last year but I couldn’t visit Castel Sant’Angelo.! so interesting I hope I can visit soon.!
I couldn’t visit on my first trip to Italy either, so the castle was my one must-do for my second trip! I hope you’ll be able to visit soon and put the castle at the top of your to-do list!