The Castel Sant’Angelo Museum is located in Castel Sant’Angelo, literally Holy Angel Castle. Originally built in the 2nd century AD, this structure was not meant to be a castle, but a mausoleum built by the Emperor Hadrian to house his remains once he died. Over the years, though, the castle has assumed quite a wide variety of roles. Barely a century after its original construction, it was incorporated into the Aurelian defensive walls and used to protect the city, while two centuries after that, it was used as a prison. It was not officially called a “castle” until the second half of the 6th century and it was also at this point when the castle acquired the characteristic statue of the Archangel that is located above it.
Today’s statue is not the original, though the original is located in the museum. Apparently, the Archangel Michael appeared in this spot to signal the end of the plague that had devastated the city. In the 16th century, it was used as a hiding place for the papacy and its role of prison was also later revived. Finally, in the 20th century it was turned into a museum; you can even enjoy the view from the Archangel’s terrace. After your visit, check out the Capitolini Museums, the Marcello Theater and the Vatican Museums.
Address: Lungotevere Castello, 50, 00186 Roma, Italy
Phone: +39 06 681 9111