Organize with us your visit to Castel Sant'Angelo: here you can find all the info and tickets skip the line.
Castel Sant'Angelo is a monument that shows two thousand years of history of Rome: every stone tells fascinating and mysterious stories. Its name evokes the legend of the Archangel Michael, who appeared on its summit to announce the end of the plague in 590 AD: since then, a statue of the angel dominates the panorama of the city from its high pedestal.
The castle was built around 123 A.D. as a tomb for Emperor Hadrian and his family. In its transformations through the centuries, from a funeral monument to an armed stronghold, from a prison for the enemies of the papacy to a Renaissance residence, from barracks to a museum, you can read the history of the eternal city as in a fascinating open book.
Read this article to know all the essential info for the visit and find tickets skip the line: you can easily organize your visit to Castel Sant'Angelo without wasting precious time.
Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome: info, skip the line tickets and guided tours
Castel Sant'Angelo rises on the right bank of the Tiber, in Lungotevere Castello, not far from the Vatican, and is connected to this by a fortified corridor called the Passetto, which served as an escape route to the popes in case of danger.
It is easily accessible by public transport, the nearest stops are Lepanto (metro A), Risorgimento (tram 19) and Piazza Cavour (bus 70, 81, 87, 492, 628).
The opening hours are from Tuesday to Sunday, from 9.00 to 19.30 and the ticket office closes at 18.30. The castle is closed on Monday, 1 January, 1 May and 25 December.
The best way not to waste time in endless queues is to buy your ticket online: you can choose between various options, with or without a guide or audio guide: all offer priority access "skip the line".
Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome: the history of a unique monument in the world
Castel Sant'Angelo dates back to the years between 130 and 139 AD as a mausoleum of Emperor Hadrian and his family. The monument consisted of a square base and a cylindrical drum, decorated with statues and friezes. Inside were the cinerary urns of the emperors and their relatives.
In the 4th century AD, the mausoleum was incorporated into the Aurelian Walls and transformed into a military fortress. In the sixth century, according to legend, the Archangel Michael appeared on the top of the monument to announce the end of the plague, giving rise to the name of Castel Sant'Angelo.
In the Middle Ages the castle became a stronghold disputed between the Roman noble families and the popes, who used it as a refuge in case of danger. It was Pope Nicholas III in the fourteenth century to commission the construction of the Passetto di Borgo, a fortified corridor that connects the castle to the Vatican.
In the Renaissance, the castle assumed the appearance of a papal residence, enriched with frescoed rooms, gardens and apartments. Among the artists who worked at the castle are Bramante, Raffaello and Michelangelo. The castle also housed the Vatican treasure and archive, a prison and a court.
From the Unification of Italy onwards the castle became a national museum and still preserves the testimonies of the various eras and different architectural styles that have occurred over the centuries. From the terrace at the foot of the bronze statue of the Archangel Michael, you can admire a splendid view of the city of Rome.
What to see in Castel Sant'Angelo: between refined works of art and rooms rich in history
Inside Castel Sant'Angelo you can admire the frescoed rooms by great Renaissance artists, such as Bramante, Raphael and Michelangelo, the cells of famous prisoners such as Giordano Bruno and Benvenuto Cellini, the papal apartments, the treasury room, the library, the courthouse and the panoramic terrace.
One of the most richly decorated rooms is the Sala Paolina, frescoed by Perin del Vaga commissioned by Pope Paul III. Here you can admire scenes from the life of Alexander the Great and the pontiff coat of arms.
A helical ramp leads to the Mausoleum of Hadrian, the original nucleus of the castle, where the urns of the Roman emperors and their families are preserved.
The Passetto di Borgo, the fortified corridor that connects the castle to the Vatican and was used by the popes as an escape route in case of danger, is instead open only in summer.
Do not miss the spectacular view of the city and the Dome of San Pietro: from the Angel’s Terrace at the foot of the statue of the Archangel Michael, who according to legend appeared on the castle to stop the plague, you can enjoy a 360 degree view of Rome.
Interesting facts about Castel Sant'Angelo
Sant'Angelo bridge, which connects the castle to the opposite bank of the Tiber, was used in 1500 to expose the heads of the condemned. Among them was Beatrice Cenci, a young woman who killed her abusive father. It is said that his ghost appears every year on the night of September 10-11.
The statue of the angel on the top of the castle has been rebuilt six times. The first statue carved in wood deteriorated due to atmospheric agents, then a second one was made of marble that broke up during a siege. The third was marble with bronze wings, but was struck and destroyed by lightning. It was then built a fourth in bronze, which unfortunately was melted in 1527 to manufacture cannons during the "Sack of Rome". The fifth statue, in marble with bronze wings, is the only one that has been preserved: it is located in the Courtyard of Balls, where the stone ammunition used for the defense of the castle is stacked. The current statue is still in bronze, dating back to 1753 and is the work of Peter Anton von Verschaffelt.
Castel Sant'Angelo was the prison of many famous prisoners, including Giordano Bruno, Benvenuto Cellini, Beatrice Cenci, the Count of Cagliostro. Many were victims of the Borgia, some like Cellini managed to escape.
The castle was also the set of some famous films, such as Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, Angels and Demons with Tom Hanks and The Great Beauty with Toni Servillo.
What to do near Castel Sant'Angelo
For a different evening from usual, admiring the most evocative views from an unusual point of view, what’s better than enjoying an aperitif at sunset on a boat that slides slowly on the Tiber?
Reach Castel Sant'Angelo from the Tiber Island, while the sun sets over the Eternal City: admire in the background the Basilica of Saint Peter passing under historical bridges such as Ponte Sisto. Pass by the most famous monuments, palaces and squares of Rome, such as the Pantheon, Campo dei Fiori with its market and Piazza del Popolo, sipping a glass of wine accompanied by typical snacks of the Roman gastronomic tradition.
Whether it’s a romantic evening or a gathering among friends, a cruise on the Tiber is an unforgettable experience to do at least once in your life.