Small group tours

Guided Tour of Castel Sant’Angelo

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46 €

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  • Private tour:On Request

  • Difficulty:Medium

Tour overview

Guided Tour of Castel Sant’Angelo

Join us while we tour this monumental building! We’ll take you through the fascinating millennia-long history of Castel Sant’Angelo, also known as Hadrian’s Mausoleum, where the emperor of Rome was buried with his family. Located near Vatican City, the Popes used it as a fortress in the medieval era, especially in 1527 when Charles V invaded Rome with his German and Spanish Protestant army. The city was burned down and many people were killed. Most of the Pope’s Swiss Guard died, but they saved the Pope by making him run through the Vatican to the Castel Sant’Angelo through a secret passage. He ran for 25 minutes: the fastest pope in history.

During our tour, you will learn how Hadrian hired the architect Demetrianus to build this famous mausoleum for his family, and how later it was connected to the Elio bridge, which today is known as Ponte Sant’Angelo. The bridge’s new name came about because during the Dark Ages, while a pandemic was sweeping across Rome, the Pope had an important dream that the Archangel Michael appeared to him. The angel was moving his sword and putting it back beneath his shield, which the Pope believed meant that the pandemic would soon end.

You will see the church at the top of the castle, dedicated to St. Michael, as well as the Papal rooms restored by the popes who lived there: Alexander Borgia, Paul III, Urban VIII and Clement IX. While we’re there, don’t miss out on admiring some important paintings by Lorenzo Lotto, Carlo Crivelli and Ambrogio Zavarari.

Next, we will take you to get the best view of Rome from the top of the castle, where you can take photos of Saint Peter’s Basilica and most of Rome. You’ll also see a weapon that was used during the 1527 sacking of Rome, the kitchen that used to feed the Popes, the beautiful ceiling painted with frescoes, and the bed where Popes used to sleep.

After the tour, you’ll get a chance to sip some delicious wine and eat good food at the restaurant/bar all the way at the top of the castle, while gazing out at the very beautiful, very romantic view of Rome. Then you’ll be able to take the most stunning photos of the secret passage called the Passetto, which was used in the movie Angels and Demons starring Tom Hanks, based on the book written by Dan Brown. We’ll also show you the perfect angle to take a great photo of the bronze statue of St. Michael the Archangel, made in 1753 by Peter von Verschaffeld, which was only restored in 1983.

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