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, this castle is also known as Hadrian’s Tomb and the Angel’s Castle.
In this article, we try and explain everything you need to know before your visit to Castel Sant’Angelo.
What is Castel Sant’ Angelo?
This historic attraction in Rome was originally built to be a tomb for Emperor Hadrian and his family.
Later, it was converted into a military building.
It was in this castle that Pope Gregory I got the vision of St. Michael the Archangel announcing the end of the great epidemic in Rome, in 590.
A statue of St. Michael was installed at the top of Castel Sant’ Angelo.
Where is Castel Sant’ Angelo?
Castel Sant’ Angelo is located right down the road from Vatican City.
Castel Sant’ Angelo is 1.4 Kms (0.86 Miles) from the Vatican Museums and a 15-minute walk can bring you to the Castle.
It is 900 meters (3000 feet approx.) from St Peter’s Basilica – a brisk 9-minute walk helps bridge the distance.
Address of Castel Sant’ Angelo: Lungotevere Castello, 50, 00193 Roma RM, Italy
How to reach Castel Sant’ Angelo
You can reach Castel Sant’Angelo via both public and private transport.
By Subway Line A: Get down at Lepanto stop.
By Bus: If a bus is your preferred route, depending on where you are starting from there are multiple options –
Bus 62, 23, 271, 982, 280 can drop you at Piazza Pia stop
Bus 40 can drop you at Piazza Pia, the final stop
Bus 34 drops you at Via di Porta Castello stop
Bus 49, 87, 926, 990 drops you at Piazza Cavour, final stop-Via Crescenzio stop
Bus numbers 64, 46 drops you at Santo Spirito stop
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
Castel Sant’Angelo hours
Castel Sant’Angelo is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9 am to 7.30 pm.
The ticket office closes at 6.30 pm.
Castel Sant’Angelo remains closed on Mondays.
In the summer months, in order to benefit from the long days and accommodate the peak number of tourists, Castel Sant’Angelo remains open for longer hours.
From early July to early September, you can also visit the castle in the evening. The opening times are from 8.30 pm to 1 am the next day.
During these extended hours, the ticket office closes at 12 midnight.
Best time to visit Castel Sant’Angelo
The peak hours at Castel Sant’Angelo are from 10 am to 3 pm.
During these hours, the waiting 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.
Best time to visit Castel Sant’Angelo is between 9 to 10 am.
If you miss this one hour slot, we recommend you arrive in the evening – after 3 pm.
There are usually fewer people to visit the monument, and the view is amazing, 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.
Our 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.
As mentioned earlier, during these months this Roman attraction remains open till 1 am.
The mood is incredible, the crowd is almost negligible, and to top it all during this time you can also visit the suspended corridor that connects Castel Sant’Angelo to the Vatican.
It is believed that the Vatican Popes used this corridor for centuries, to escape to the safety of the Castle, whenever armies invaded.
Go ahead, book tickets now
When is Castel Sant’ Angelo free?
Domenica al Museo: On the first Sunday of every month, most popular Roman landmarks open their doors to all visitors for free.
Under the same rule, tourists are allowed to visit Castel Sant’Angelo for free, on the first Sunday of every month.
Yes, you read it right – there is no entry fee on the first Sunday of the 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.
However, if you qualify for any of the below-given conditions entry to Castel Sant’ Angelo is free all through the year.
– School students and supervisors accompanying them
– University students studying archaeology and history
– Tourist guides and interpreters
– Journalists with a valid press card
– Disabled visitors with an accompanying person
Duration of Castel Sant’Angelo tour
There are 5 levels of exhibits in the Museums and most visitors try to see all.
However, the top floor is one of the most popular levels of this castle.
Besides, the statue of the Archangel St. Michael, this level also offers amazing views of the city of Rome.
There are tourists who have explored the castle in an hour and then there are some who say one needs at least two hours to explore Castel Sant’Angelo.
Castel Sant’Angelo tickets
This skip the line, smartphone ticket gets you seamless entry into Castel Sant’Angelo.
Why are these called ‘smartphone tickets’?
Once purchased, this ticket gets delivered to your email. On the day of your visit, you walk past the waiting lines, show the ticket in your email (on your smartphone) at the entrance and walk into the attraction.
With this ticket, you have access to everything in the attraction including the Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant’Angelo. You also get to visit the temporary exhibitions.
Adult ticket (18+ years): 20.50 Euros
Adult ticket (EU Citizens, 18 to 25 years): 13.50 Euros
Child ticket (0 to 17 years): 4.50 Euros
Tip: During the summer months cruises along Tiber river are quite popular among tourists. These cruises sail off from Castel Sant’Angelo pier. 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 9 minutes’ walk from the Castle. Similarly, the Vatican Museums is just a brisk 15 minutes’ walk.
Because of this close proximity to popular tourist attractions, tourists researching for Castel Sant’Angelo tickets, also look for combo tours.
After all, a combo tour ticket can help you save up to 15% of the ticket cost.
All the combo tours mentioned below come with a licensed guide, who narrates interesting stories and anecdotes about the attractions.
1. Castel Sant’Angelo and St. Peter’s Square Tour
This is a 3-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.
Adult ticket (26+ years): 55 Euros
Youth ticket (18 to 25 years): 50 Euros
Child ticket (6 to 17 years): 30 Euros
2. Angels and Demons Official Tour – The Path of Illumination
This is a 4-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): 56 Euros
Youth ticket (2 to 14 years): 51 Euros
3. Castel Sant’Angelo and Ponte Sant’Angelo Guided Tour
This is a 3-hour tour where the English-speaking guide takes you through three attractions close to each other.
As part of this tour, you explore the imposing Castel Sant’Angelo and Ponte Sant’Angelo (it is the bridge that crosses Tiber River from the neighborhoods of Ponte and Borgo).
Finally, you walk along the Passetto de Borgo till you reach the most famous square in the world, St. Peter’s Square.
Adult ticket (26+ years): 65 Euros
Youth ticket (18 to 25 years): 58 Euros
Child ticket (7 to 17 years): 45 Euros
4. Tour of Castel Sant’Angelo & St. Peter’s Basilica
In less than ten minutes you can walk from Castel Sant’Angelo to St. Peter’s Basilica and that’s why this is quite a popular combo tour.
An expert guide takes you inside both the Roman attractions and makes the trip memorable with his narrations.
This tour starts at 10 am, 11 am, 12 noon, and 2 pm – you can decide the preferred time slot.
For one person: 380 Euros
For two persons: 460 Euros
For three persons: 540 Euros
For four persons: 620 Euros
5. Sant Angel Castel, Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica tour
If you only have a day in Vatican City, this is a great combo tour – you see everything there is to explore.
This is a six-hour tour, and thanks to the skip the line tickets you don’t waste any of that time waiting in the queues.
Adult ticket (18+ years): 180 Euros
Youth ticket (7 to 17 years): 110 Euros
Child ticket (4 to 6 years): 10 Euros
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 at Castel Sant’ Angelo. We list them below –
1. Views of Rome from the terrace
This is the roof of Castel Sant’Angelo is also known as the terrace of the angel.
That’s because the statue of the Archangel St. Michael is located on the topmost floor – the roof of the Castle.
While the terrace is fun in itself, the experience is much better if you happen to be watching the Roman skyline during sunset.
2. Papal Rooms
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 are designed keeping the lifestyle of the Popes in mind and this are decorated with paintings, frescoes etc.
3. The Armoury
Every Castle has an armory, and Castel Sant’Angelo is no different.
Its armory is located on the fourth floor and can still be accessed by visiting tourists.
4. The Prisons
In its long history, this Castle has served many purposes and one of it was 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.
5. The Bastions
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.
6. 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.
After visiting, Castel Sant’Angelo you can also visit other nearby attractions like St. Peter’s Basilica, The Vatican Museum, The Mausoleum of Augustus, Piazza Navona and The Pantheon.
History of Castel Sant’ Angelo
Emperor Hadrian started the construction of the castle in 135.
Four years later, the Castle was ready for occupation.
Initially, it was to be a Mausoleum but with time it got used for military purposes
In the year 590, Rome was hit by an epidemic. The whole city was devastated.
Pope Gregory I then saw a vision of Saint Michael the Archangel and he announced the end of the epidemic.
In memory of the incident, the Saint’s statue was 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.