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The Fascinating History of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome: From Mausoleum to Fortress Castle

Explore the Castel Sant'Angelo and save the admission fees with the Rome City Pass

Castel Sant’Angelo with bridge over the river tiber in Rome Statue on castle Sant'Angelo View of Castel Sant'Angelo

The Castle of the Holy Angel (Castel Sant’ Angelo in Italian) is one of the top sights to see in Rome. Formerly it was built to be an imperial mausoleum, but it served to be a portion of the city wall and also as a fortress for some time. Later it was converted into a prison and also a place of refuge. Today, the Castle of the Holy Angel serves as a national museum.

Opening Hours of the Castle of the Holy Angel (Time Slots)

From Tuesday to Sunday, 9.00 am-7.30 pm (last admission at 6.30 pm).

Closed on Monday, May 1st, August 16st, December 25th, January 1st (subject to unforeseen circumstances).
Free admission: every 1st Sunday of the month, June 2th, November 4th.
With easy access to public transportation, you can easily fit Castel Sant'Angelo into your day.

You can visit Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome at the above mentioned time slots: don't forget to book at any Touristation Point as per instruction below.

Tickets for the Castle of the Holy Angel

With your practical Rome City Pass, you can experience Castel Sant'Angelo free of charge. You will receive your Rome City Pass before your trip, which gives you free entry to Castel Sant'Angelo and free or discounted entry to other top attractions. This gives you a wonderful basis for a relaxed stay in Rome.

You can get your ticket directly at Castel Sant'Angelo: 

Starting from March, 1st 2024: 9.30 am - 1 pm and 2.00 - 4.30 pm. Staff wear a red jacket and hold an orange umbrella. (The service is not available on Mondays and the first Sundays of the month)

To collect your ticket, you can also go to one of the following tourist stations:

Please show your Rome City Pass ticket to the staff at the tourist station in front of the entrance to Castel Sant'Angelo. 

TOURISTATION VATICANO, Viale Vaticano 97 (opening hours: Monday to Saturday 8.30 am - 4.00 pm). 

TOURISTATION NAVONA, Piazza Navona 25 (opening hours: Monday to Sunday: 9:00 - 18:00). 

TOURISTATION PIAZZA VENEZIA, Piazza D'Ara Coeli 16, 00186 Roma Italy (Monday to Sunday: April - October daily 9:00 - 17:00 November - March daily 9:00 - 15:00)

Please note: For security reasons, admission is limited to 220 admissions per time slot. Each time slot has a duration of 1 hour and 30 minutes. 

Address of the Castle of the Holy Angel

Lungotevere Castello 50
00193 Rome

+39 3496966958

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The Castle of the Holy Angel can be reached using the Ponte Sant’Angelo, which crosses over the Tiber River. Because the Castle of the Holy Angel is surrounded by the beautiful Parco Adriano, Castel Sant’Angelo is truly situated in an attractive location. When compared to other structures in Rome, the Castel Sant’Angelo is very tall and as a result, offers its visitors a fantastic terrace-side view of Rome. Take your time and enjoy this view for a moment. Castel Sant’Angelo is also minutes away from connections to local transport, which means that bus stops and train stations can be easily reached from the castle and you can continue exploring other top attractions in Rome.

Directions to the Castle of the Holy Angel

Metro A to Lepanto
Bus 23, 34, 40, 62, 280, 982 or N11 to Piazza Pia-Castel Sant‘Angelo  

Because Rome's public transportation system is a very good network of buses and trains, traveling to the Castel Sant'Angelo is flexible! You can take the Metro A to the „Lepanto” station. From there, you only have a 15-minute walk to reach the Castel Sant’Angelo. If you would prefer to see more of the city and also have a shorter walk to the Castel Sant’Angelo, you can take the bus instead. The bus lines 23, 40, 62, 271 and 982 give you a scenic tour through Rome while making its way to the Castel Sant’Angelo. If you take any of these buses, get off at „Piazza Pia.” You will only have about 250 meters between you and the entrance of the Castel Sant’Angelo - which means you can begin your visit into the museum immediately.

Special Terms of Use

The Castle of the Holy Angel is closed on the following days/dates: January 1, May 1, and December 25. 

Highlights of the Castle of the Holy Angel

  • Prison of Galileo Galilei 
  • Museum with a weapons collection 
  • Treasure chamber 
  • Beautiful view of Rome  

Attractions Near the Castle of the Holy Angel

The Palazzo Altemps is located very near the Castel Sant’Angelo. The palace is currently a part of the Museo Nazionale Romano. Here you can find an exhibition of ancient artwork from the collections of Ludovisi and Hohenems. The Museo Napoleonic is only a few streets away from the Castel Sant’Angelo as well as the Palazzo Altemps. In this museum, you will find private pieces from the Bonaparte family that explains their family history. Castel Sant’Angelo is also close to the Accademia Nazionale di San Luca, which exhibits artwork of its members and is considered to be the predecessor of modern art academies.

Tips for Your Visit to the Castel of the Holy Angel

Please note in advance for events held at the museum during the summer, such as „Notti d'Estate a Castel Sant'Angel”. During these events, the escape passage between the Vatican and Castel Sant’Angelo is accessible.Walk on the Ponte Sant’Angelo, which is a beautiful, ancient bridge in Rome that Hadrian built in the year 136 as a way into his mausoleum.  

History of the Castle of the Holy Angel 

The history of the Castel Sant’Angelo started in the year 133, when the construction of the mausoleum began. Only year after, construction of the mausoleum was completed. The mausoleum was planned to house the Roman Kaiser Hadrian and his future successors. The mausoleum received the name "Castel Sant’Angelo" in 590 BC when pestilence ran rampage in Rome. Pope Gregory I had seen the archangel Michael on the roof of the Hadrian Mausoleum. The archangel is said to have predicted the end of the plaque, when he sheathed the sword of divine wrath. Because illness soon went away, a statue of the archangel Michael was placed on top of the mausoleum to commemorate this difficult time-- and so, Hadrian's Mausoleum received the name Castel Sant'Angelo. Over time, many renovations were conducted, until eventually the mausoleum became more of a fortress and castle. For example, during the fortification of the city, the Castel Sant'Angelo was integrated into the protective city wall in the 6th century, and it also became the city’s control base. Late in the 10th century, the pope came to own the Castel Sant'Angelo. During this time, it was used as a place of refuge during times of danger. Because of this, an 800-meter long, fortified corridor was built into the city wall and connected the castle with the Vatican. Plush apartments were also later built here and a treasure chamber which contained a portion of the secret archive was also placed here. Sometime in the history of Castel Sant'Angelo, the castle was used as a prison during the era of Inquisition. At that time, famous historical figures like Galileo Galilei were imprisoned. However, around the 18th century, the castle was rarely used by popes. After a brief take over by the French Republic, the castle became a part of Italy in 1870. Afterwards, the castle once again served as a fortress and prison. Then at the beginning of the 20th century, a new chapter in the history of the Castel Sant'Angelo began. The castle was restored and since then it has been opened as a museum for the public to enjoy. Currently, you can see (amongst other things) a weapons collection as well as models that depict the architectural development of Castel Sant'Angelo.

Experience the Castle of the Holy Angel with the Rome City Pass for free.

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