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Castel Sant Angelo - Emperor Hadrian's Mausoleum
cwo3ward @ 08/ 16/ 2009

Castel Sant'Angelo was originally built as a mausoleum for the Emperor Hadrian and his family. Emperor Hadrian was responsible for rebuilding the Pantheon after it was destroyed by a huge fire over 100 years earlier. Over the years, the ashes of other Roman Emperors were also placed in Castel Sant'Angelo.

 

The tomb was turned into a military fortress around the year 401. It served as a fortress for more than 100 years. In the year 590, legend says that the Archangel Michael appeared to Pope Gregory the Great above the mausoleum, and sheathed his sword as a sign of the end of plague. The name Castel Sant'Angelo comes from that event. Castel Sant'Angelo was a fortess and a prison for much of the Dark Ages. Later, the Popes converted it into a castle. St. Peter's Basilica was connected to it by a covered fortified corridor and it became a refuge for the Popes in time of attack. The castle was converted into Papal apartments for safety when needed. My most recent visit to Rome and Castel Sant'Angelo consisted of a walk along the Tiber River, taking pictures and admiring the massive stone structure.

 

Because we were running out of time in Rome, we had to settle for a brief look at the outside. Next time we'll tour the inside and get some fabulous pictures. If you've read Dan Brown's novel Angels and Demons, you know that Castel Sant'Angelo played a prominent part in the story. Read the book before you see the movie and it'll most likely make the movie a lot easier to follow. If you've had the good fortune of touring the inside.... please consider submitting a travel story....with pictures and video!

What were the WOW moments you experienced?
The sheer size of the mausoleum/prison/papal apartment building is really impressive. I reluctantly had to postpone my tour of the inside because our trip was coming to an end. I am really stoked for a return to Rome to see the inside.
Italy, Rome, Castel Sant' Angelo
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