Castel Sant’Angelo is a fortress located on the right bank of the river Tiber, just outside of the Vatican City.
Built between 135 – 139 AD, Castel Sant’Angelo is also known as Hadrian’s Tomb and the Angel’s Castle.
Table of contents
- What is Castel Sant’Angelo
- How to reach Castel Sant’ Angelo
- Opening hours
- Best time to visit Castel Sant’Angelo
- How long does Castel Sant’Angelo take
- Castel Sant’Angelo tickets
- Castel Sant’Angelo combo tours
- Free entry into Castel Sant’ Angelo
- What to see at Castel Sant’ Angelo
- History of Castel Sant’ Angelo
What is Castel Sant’Angelo
This historic Mausoleum in Rome was meant to be a tomb for Emperor Hadrian and his family.
Over the years, it has taken on many purposes, including Papal residence, military building, a prison, etc.
At Castel Sant’Angelo, Pope Gregory I got the vision of St. Michael the Archangel announcing the end of the great epidemic in Rome in 590.
As a result, a statue of St. Michael got installed at the top of Castel Sant’ Angelo.
How to reach Castel Sant’ Angelo
Castel Sant’ Angelo is located right down the road from Vatican City.
It is 1.4 km (almost a mile) from the Vatican Museums, and a 15-minute walk can get you to the Castle.
It is almost a km from St Peter’s Basilica, and a brisk 9-minute walk helps bridge the distance. Get Directions
If you prefer the subway, board Line A and get down at Lepanto station.
The subway station is 15 minutes walk from the castle.
There are plenty of bus options as well.
|Bus Numbers||Bus Stop|
|40, 62, 23, 271, 982, 280||Piazza Pia|
|34||Via di Porta Castello|
|49, 87, 926, 990||Piazza Cavour|
|64, 46||Santo Spirito|
Since it is not in a traffic restricted area, you can drive to Castel Sant’Angelo as well.
The Prati neighborhood has plenty of parking houses available. The closest parking spots are in Piazza Cavour, 200 meters from Castel Sant’Angelo. Get Driving Directions
From Tuesday to Sunday, Castel Sant’Angelo is open from 9 am to 7.30 pm.
The last entry is at 6.30 pm.
Castel Sant’Angelo remains closed on Mondays.
From early July to early September, Castel Sant’Angelo also opens in the evening – from 8.30 pm to 1 am the next day.
During these extended hours, the ticket office closes at midnight.
Best time to visit Castel Sant’Angelo
The best time to visit Castel Sant’Angelo is as soon as they open at 9 am.
When you start early, you can avoid the peak hours of the Castle, which are 10 am to 3 pm.
During these hours, waiting in lines can even take up to one hour.
When the number of visitors is too high, the museum’s administration may apply further restrictions on the entry, making your waiting time even longer.
If you can’t make it in the morning, the next best time to visit the Castle is after 3 pm.
After 3 pm, there are fewer people at Mausoleum, and the view is fantastic, especially at the sunset hour.
We suggest you arrive at Sant’Angelo castle around 3 pm, visit all the rooms first, and then witness the sunset from the terrace bar facing St. Peter’s dome.
Recommendation for summer months
If you are in Rome from early July to early September, you can also visit the Castle in the evening – after 8.30 pm.
During these months, this Roman attraction remains open till 1 am.
The mood is incredible, and the crowd is almost negligible.
To top it all, in the evening, you can also visit the suspended corridor that connects Castel Sant’Angelo to the Vatican.
The Vatican Popes used this corridor for centuries to escape to the safety of the Castle whenever armies invaded.
Go ahead, book tickets now
How long does Castel Sant’Angelo take
Most tourists explored Castel Sant’Angelo castle in an hour, but then the visitors who prefer to get into the details are known to spend up to two hours in the attraction.
There are five levels of exhibits in the Museums, and most visitors try to see them all.
However, the top floor is one of the most popular levels of this castle.
Besides the Archangel St. Michael statue, this level also offers fantastic views of the city of Rome.
Castel Sant’Angelo tickets
There are three ways to experience Castel Sant’Angelo.
You can buy the standard ticket, which is the cheapest way to explore the castle, or book the guided tour, which is the best way, or opt for one of the combo tours and combine it with another Roman attraction.
How online tickets work
When you book Castel Sant’Angelo tickets online, you select your preferred time of visit.
Immediately after purchase, your tickets get emailed to you. You don’t need to take any printouts.
Now all you must do is, reach the tourist attraction 15 minutes before the time mentioned on your ticket.
Since you have a ticket and are on time, you can show it on your smartphone and walk into the ruins right away.
Cheapest Castel Sant’Angelo tickets
This skip-the-line ticket gets you seamless entry into Castel Sant’Angelo.
You have access to everything in the attraction with this ticket, including the Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant’Angelo and the temporary exhibitions.
Finish your tour with a panoramic view over Rome and the River Tiber from the castle terrace.
You can book this experience with or without the audio guide, and the prices vary accordingly.
Ticket price (without audio guide)
Adult ticket (18+ years): €21
Youth ticket (6 to 17 years): €8
Child ticket (up to 5 years): Free entry
Ticket price (with audio guide)
Adult ticket (18+ years): €25
Youth ticket (6 to 17 years): €10
Child ticket (up to 5 years): Free entry
Guided tour of Castel Sant’Angelo
During this two-hour guided tour of Castel Sant’Angelo, a local guide takes you around the attraction.
The fast track entry that is part of this ticket ensures you don’t waste time waiting in the queues.
The group is limited to 20 visitors, and all get a headset to hear the guide well.
After seeing all the exhibits in the castle, you go up to the terrace to take in panoramic views of the city.
The guided tour starts at 10 am and 3 pm.
Ticket price: €49 per person
During the summer months, cruises along the Tiber river are pretty popular among tourists. These cruises sail off from Castel Sant’Angelo pier.
If you like to take it easy, we recommend the 3-hour hi-bike rental and skip the line Castel Sant’Angelo entry. Find out more
Castel Sant’Angelo combo tours
There are many popular attractions within walking distance of Castel Sant’Angelo.
For instance, St Peter’s Basilica is a 9-minute walk from the Castle. Similarly, the Vatican Museums is just a brisk 15 minutes walk.
Because of this proximity to popular tourist attractions, tourists researching Castel Sant’Angelo tickets also look for combo tours.
After all, a combo tour ticket can help you save up to 20% of the ticket cost.
The combo tours mentioned below come with a licensed guide, who narrates exciting stories and anecdotes about the attractions.
Castel Sant’Angelo + St. Peter’s Square
This trip is a three-hour walking tour of two of Rome’s most famous attractions – the Castel Sant’ Angelo and St. Peter’s Square.
The highlight of this tour is Passetto di Borgo, the passage which helped so many Popes save themselves when their lives were threatened.
This tour starts at 9.30 am, and all tourists get headsets to hear the guide.
Adult ticket (26+ years): €60
Youth ticket (18 to 25 years): €55
Child ticket (6 to 17 years): €40
Angels and Demons official tour
This experience is a four-hour guided tour where you find out who the Illuminati were.
During this tour, you also explore the Church of Illumination and the secret passage connecting the Vatican to the Castel Sant’ Angelo.
If you have read Dan Brown’s bestseller ‘Angels and Demons’ or watched the movie, you will love this tour.
Adult ticket (15+ years): €64
Youth ticket (2 to 14 years): €59
Free entry into Castel Sant’ Angelo
On the first Sunday of every month, the most famous Roman landmarks open their doors to all visitors for free.
It is locally known as Domenica al Museo (Sunday at the Museum).
As a result, tourists can visit Castel Sant’Angelo for free on the first Sunday of every month.
However, we don’t recommend this because it can get very crowded.
Long waiting lines outside mean you end up wasting a lot of your time.
Once inside, crowded rooms ensure you don’t get to explore the castle the way you may want to.
Interested in free entry to the Colosseum, Vatican Museums, St Peter’s Basilica, and Sistine Chapel? Buy Omnia Card
What to see at Castel Sant’ Angelo
Castel Sant’Angelo holds many good and sinister stories which are worth knowing.
Besides the stories, there are numerous must-see exhibits and experiences at Castel Sant’ Angelo.
View of Rome from terrace
Castel Sant Angelo’s roof is also known as the ‘Terrace of the Angel’ because of the Archangel St. Michael statue, which proudly rests on this floor.
The terrace offers excellent views of the city of Rome on all sides.
While the terrace is fun in itself, the experience is much better if you happen to be watching the Roman skyline during sunset.
Castel Sant’Angelo has numerous Papal rooms, where the Popes used to stay.
One such Pope who stayed in this Castle for a while was Clement VII.
While exploring the papal apartments, do not miss Pope Clement VII’s bathroom.
These rooms were designed keeping the lifestyle of the Popes in mind and have numerous paintings, frescoes, etc.
Every Castle has an armory, and Castel Sant’Angelo is no different.
Its armory is on the fourth floor, and the Castel Sant Angelo tickets get you access to this fascinating arms and ammunition room as well.
This castle has served many purposes in its long history, and one of them being the local jail.
Prisoners sent to the guillotine or being burnt on the stake was a regular occurrence at Castel Sant’Angelo.
During your visit, you can see the prison cells.
Castel Sant’Angelo has four bastions built to aid in defending the Castle during attacks.
As of today, these platforms are accessible through the second floor.
Tourists climb the St. Matthew Bastion and the San Giovanni Bastion to enjoy the excellent views of the Tiber river.
Hall of the Urns
Hall of the Urns was once used to house the remains of the imperial family.
Even though the family’s urns aren’t there anymore, this room still draws the tourists.
History of Castel Sant’ Angelo
In 135, Emperor Hadrian started the construction of the castle, which lasted four years.
Initially, it was to be a Mausoleum, but it got used for military purposes with time.
In 590, Rome got hit by the plague, and the whole city was devastated.
Pope Gregory I saw a vision of Saint Michael the Archangel, who announced the end of the epidemic.
In memory of the incident, the Pope got Saint Michael’s statue erected on the roof of the building.
Many centuries later (in 1277), an 800-meter corridor was built connecting the Castle with the Vatican City so that the Pope could escape during emergencies.
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