Castel Sant’Angelo or originally the Mausoleum of Hadrian is one of the best-preserved ancient buildings in Rome. It was initially built to serve as a mausoleum for the Roman emperor Hadrian and his family. A legend says that Archangel Michael appeared on its top to one of the popes. To commemorate this, the mausoleum was renamed to ‘Castel Sant’Angelo’. Later through ages, Castle St. Angelo was utilized by popes as their proper castle (as well as a prison) also serving for defense purposes. A secret passage was constructed to link it with the Vatican and facilitate escape when necessary. As in the 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 that leads directly to the castle was built in ancient times as well. Today it is a pedestrian zone. Its current design with ten statues of angels is of Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Bernini managed to finish; however, only two of the ten sculptures. The remaining angels are works of other sculptors. (Photo by Pexels)