Castel Sant Angelo

Castel Sant Angelo was originally built as a mausoleum for theEmperor Hadrian but was later transformed into a big castle where popes couldseek refuge at turbulent times. The Castel Sant Angelo is located on the rightside of the Tiber and its construction startedin 130 AD and was completed in 139 AD, during the reign of Emperor AntoniusPius who was Hadrian’s successor. At the time which the Castel Sant Angelo was constructedit was the tallest building in Rome, Italy.

The Castel Sant Angelo has undergone several changes basedon the different purposes that it served throughout history. First it was usedas a mausoleum and then it became part of the city wall. Later on it was turnedinto a fortress before being used a papal residence. Afterwards it was used asa barracks and prison and currently it is a national museum. The museum is richin history and it contains the remains of the Roman Emperor Hadrian and thoseof his successors up to the emperor Caracalla.

Castel Sant Angelo is comprised of a square 89 m wide base on acylindrical colonnaded drum with a diameter of 64 m. The mausoleum wasconnected to the Vatican Cityby a bridge (Pons Aelius). Today the passageway that connects Castel SantAngelo and the Vaticanstill exists. This bridge is presently known as the Ponte Sant Angelo.

The Castel Sant Angelo is a spectacular structure. Thebuilding is divided into five floors. Floor I is made of the famous windingramp which is approximately 400 feet long (this is a common Roman construction). FloorII, which is also known as the floor of the prisons contained horrible prisoncells as well as stores for oil and wheat. Floor III, also known as themilitary floor, has two large courtyards. Floor IV which is known as the papalfloor contains the loggia of Julius II, by Bramante, and a papal apartmentconsisting of superbly decorated rooms. Floor V, the top floor, has a bigterrace with apanoramic view and a statue of the Archangel Michael made of bronze.

The incredible statue depicting the Archangel Michael placed at the topof the fortress was sculpted by the Flemishsculptor and architect Pieter Verschaffelt. This statue replaced an older one with the same theme. The previous statue was made ofmarble but after being damaged it was replaced by the current bronze statue. This statue depicts the Archangel Michael who is said to haveappeared on top of the fortress in the year 590 and miraculously ended thesevere plague that had infected the city of Rome.

Castel Sant Angelo is visited by millions of tourists fromall over the world every year and it has become one of the favorite tourists’destinations. Being a home to the National Museum of Castel Sant Angelo, thesite has remained a source of valuable historical resources and manyresearchers visit it every day. There is a lot of art and architecture in andaround Castel Sant Angelo from which you can learn much regarding Rome’s history, religionand architecture.