Once upon a time, the Angel helped the city
We couldn’t be happier our second attempt to St.Peter’s Basilica worked out! Such a big relief, after that big achievement, we decided to hit another attraction just around the corner- Castel Sant’Angelo.
Castel Sant’Angelo is definitely hard to ignore since it is standing right next to the Tiber river. The medieval time castle looked so interesting compared to other architectures… luckily, we visited there at a nice time, a short line to wait about 10 mins. It’s for sure less tourists than other attractions, so I would highly suggest you visit here after St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican museum.
Castel Sant’Angelo (Castle of the Holy Angel) refers to the Archangel- Michael. In the New Testament Michael leads God’s armies against Satan’s forces in the Book of Revelation, where during the war in heaven he defeats Satan, and then over time as a protector and the leader of the army of God against the forces of evil.
It was first built between 123 and 139 AD to serve as the mausoleum of the Roman emperor, Hadrian, and his family. Legend has it that the name of the castle was given after the Archangel Michael appeared at the top of the roof of the castle to announce the end of the plague in the sixth century. An imposing statue of the angel can be seen on top of the castle. In the 14th century, the building was used by the pope as a fortress and castle and is now a museum. The structure was once the tallest building in Rome.
We used our Roma Pass for discounted tickets, it’s truly a good deal. This is not a big place, so I will suggest you spend 1-1.5 hrs here. I am glad to see this museum tried to do something different, they provide self-guided APP you can download at the spot, wherever you go, it will show the feature’s description without entering a number, just by proximity.
It is pretty nice they keep the old castle atmosphere, the first thing you will see is the cannonballs and cannons that you can imagine how in the old time, the soldiers worked together and hide behind the wall on the top to protect the Vatican city.
I love that you can overlook the other side of the Tiber river and see the famous Ponte Sant’Angelo (Sant’Angelo bridge) is fantastic. Once Dante wrote in his Divine Comedy that during the Jubilee of 1300, due to a large number of pilgrims going and coming from Saint Peter, two separate lanes were arranged on the bridge. you can tell how it was popular for pilgrims to walk on the bridge. Later in the 16th century, Pope gave commission to Bernini, one of his last large projects, called for ten angels holding instruments of the Passion: he personally only finished the two originals of the Angel with the Superscription “I.N.R.I.” and the Angel with the Crown of Thorns, but these were kept by Clement IX for his own pleasure. They are now in the church of Sant’Andrea delle Fratte.
It’s pleasant to just hang around inside the castle, felt like a solitude world from the outside packed world. and on the top of the level, they have a cafe where you can chill down and sip a cappuccino. a great afternoon spent nicely, isn’t it?
Also, there are some vendors just right at the outside of the castle, looked like a flea market beside the Tiber river. We did take a look at the place, but we didn’t find anything we really like to buy. But this doesn’t mean you can’t. so remember this, maybe you will find some good souvenirs.
This Rome journey is almost at the end, but to us, not until we finished the Castel Sant’Angelo did we feel complete. there was once an angel on the top of the castle to announce the good news and the door to heaven is just a mile away, how romantic this idea is. we walk by the Tiber, seeing the pink sunset one last time, it truly is an amazing experience. I love you Rome, once again I said it in my mind!
Tips for visiting Castel Sant’Angelo:
1. Use your Roma Pass, it will give you a nice discounted price.
2. Download and use the official APP to self-guide, it’s FREE.
3. It opens late compared to other museums, so it’s good to check this out in late afternoon especially at Sunset time, the scene is incredibly beautiful.
4. Suggest spending about 1-1.5 hrs here.
5. Wear walkable shoes, in general, it’s not hard to walk around, but there are some steps inside the castle are a little bit stiff, better play safe.
6. Bring your camera! it’s a great place to shoot different angles of the Tiber river and the Vatican city.
8. Drink a cappuccino at the top cafe. It is more expensive than the street but the view is worth it
Musei Vaticani→ Trastevere neighborhood
St. Peter’s Basilica→ Castel Sant’Angelo→ Piazza Navona