Sightseeing in Rome sooner or later you will see the Castel Sant’Angelo. It was built in ancient times to serve as a mausoleum for the Roman emperor Hadrian and his family. Therefore its first name is the ‘Mausoleum of Hadrian’. Also other emperors were buried here. Legend says that Archangel Michael appeared on its top, hence the name ‘Castel Sant’Angelo’. Later through ages, the mausoleum was utilised by popes as their castle (as well as a prison) serving also for defence purposes. A secret passage was constructed to link it with the Vatican and facilitate escape when necessary. As in case of other Roman buildings some building elements and artwork used in its original decoration were taken to be used at Saint Peter’s.
The Sant’Angelo bridge was built in the ancient times too. Its current design with ten statues of angels is however of Gian Lorenzo Bernini (remember the Bernini sculptures in Angels and Demons?). Bernini managed to finish only two of the ten statues. The one on the photo to the left called the ‘Angel with the lance’ was sculptured by Domenico Guidi (with whom by the way Bernini was in a conflict or other way round).
The bridge leads straight to the castle. Today it is a pedestrian zone.
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