Discover the history of an ancient citadel, appointed by Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum. Admire Bernini’s pillars in the Vatican City.
- Explore 2 historic sites of Rome on a 3-hour walking tour of the Castel Sant’ Angelo and St. Peter’s Square,
- Discover the background of an ancient fortress, appointed by Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum,
- Admire Bernini’s pillars in the Vatican City.
- Licensed professional live guide (German, English, French, Italian),
- Entry costs.
- Tour inside St. Peter’s Basilica,
- Hotel pickup and drop-off,
- Food and drinks.
Free cancellation up to 1 day before tour starts.
The origins of the Ponte Sant’Angelo go back to the second century, when it linked the Campus Martius on the right bank with the huge, rotundacrowned Mausoleum of Hadrian, which in the third century was transformed into a massive fortress, today’s Castel Sant’Angelo.
Around 1530, Pope Clement VII (1523-1534) commissioned statues of St Peter and St Paul for the castle end of the bridge, replacing two chapels. Clement IX (1667-1669) had Bernini add ten angels in the following century. He it is, then, to whom we owe this brilliant piece of Baroque theatre – most effective seen at night – which forms part of the pilgrim route to St Peter’s.
The castle takes its name from a legend. In 590, Pope Gregory the Great (590-604) had a vision of the Archangel Michael sheathing his sword on top of the Mausoleum. It was taken as a sign from Heaven that the plague which had been ravaging the city was finally over.
The castle’s round form reflects that of the Hadrianeum. It has served countless purposes over the course of time: originally an outpost of the Aurelian Wall (fifth century), it became a refuge – and even a prison – for the medieval popes. It was to the Castel Sant’Angelo that Clement VII fled from the Vatican to escape the fury of Charles V’s mercenaries, using the Passetto, a passage specially constructed for such emergencies in the high linking wall.
The interior, with its spiral ramp and its sumptuous Renaissance apartments, is breathtaking. Then there is the view from the summit – an all-embracing panorama of the city’s hills, domes, and campanili.