Castel Sant’Angelo

The Castel Sant’Angelo, erected on the right bank of the river Tiber between 134 and 139 AD, was commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family. A year after his death in 138 AD, his ashes were placed here, along with those of his wife Sabine and his first adopted son, Lucius Aelius. The remains of other emperors were also placed here later, including Caracalla in 217 AD.

Most of the tomb’s contents and decorations were lost when the building was converted to a military fortress in 401 AD. Much later, during the 14th century, the building was converted into a castle. It was connected to St. Peter’s Basilica by a covered fortified corridor called the Passetto di Borgo during the reign of Pope Nicholas III, and served as a refuge for Pope Clement VII during the Sack of Rome in 1527. The papal state later also used the castle as a prison. Today, it is a museum.


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