Castel Sant’Angelo

Tickets sell out fast in Rome: check availability now »

Delve into 18 centuries of history at Castel Sant’Angelo.

Built as the tomb of the mighty Emperor Hadrian, the Castel Sant’Angelo has seen an astonishing amount of bloodshed, turbulence, and change in the millennia since. 

From fleeing popes and secret passages to executions and medieval prisons: the Castel Sant’Angelo takes up a fascinating place in Rome’s history.

Entrance to Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome
Entrance to the historic Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome.


  • Cross the Ponte Sant’Angelo, one of the most intact ancient bridges in Europe, as you walk up to the imposing castle.
  • Admire the opulence and art of the papal rooms as you explore the fortress once used as the pope’s refuge. 
  • Marvel at one of the finest views in Rome; the sweeping panoramas from the Angel Terrace.

How to Get to Castel Sant’Angelo

By Metro

Castel Sant’Angelo isn’t particularly close to a metro. The closest stations are Ottaviano and Lepanto, which are both about a 15-minute walk away.  

By Bus

There are plenty of buses that will get you there.

Some buses stop opposite the castle, others stop one block back towards the Vatican.

The bus stop is very close to Castel Sant’Angelo

You can also walk here along the river. You can join the path at various points of the river and exit just in front of Castel Sant’Angelo.

A picture containing outdoor, sky, building, lake

Description automatically generated

Not those steps. The next steps are at the bridge in front of the castle.

Tickets & Prices

Guarantee your spot visiting one of Rome’s ancient attractions with a reserved entrance ticket. You can explore Castel Sant’Angelo without waiting in line to purchase tickets – just show up with the ticket ready on your phone.

Discover which Castel Sant’Angelo ticket most suits your needs.

Important Ticket Information

  • Your ticket will be on your phone – you will need to show this and your photo ID when entering.
  • The ticket is valid for the date you select at checkout. 
  • You can choose any time slot on that day, from 9 am – 7:30 pm (last entry at 6:30 pm).
  • This ticket cannot be canceled, amended, or rescheduled.

Castel Sant Angelo Skip-the-Line Ticket with an Audioguide

Avoid the fuss of purchasing tickets on the day and breeze into Castel Sant’Angelo with this online ticket. It includes an informative audioguide which will tell you the history behind what you are seeing before you. 

  • Audioguide languages: Italian, English, Spanish, French & German.
  • The audioguide is downloaded onto your mobile phone. You will need to bring earphones for the best experience.
  • You can get a full refund for cancellation up to 24 hours before the schedule.

Tickets for Castel Sant’Angelo: Angels and Demons Experience

Explore the castle with a knowledgeable guide, who will regale you with tales of the fortress’ long and storied history. Gain insight into the castle’s origins in the Roman Empire. It was reimagined into a papal fortress and, later, as a prison.

On this tour, you will access areas normally cordoned off to general visitors – most notably the Passetto di Borgo, the secret passageway leading to the Vatican.

Important Ticket Information

  • The ticket is valid on the date and time selected upon purchase.
  • You will be emailed a voucher to display on your phone; bring a photo ID.
  • You can usually choose between two times when purchasing: 11 am or 5 pm.
  • Tours typically take around 2 hours. 
  • You will meet your guide on St. Angelo Bridge. Arrive 10-15 minutes before the tour is due to start.
  • You can get a full refund for cancellation up to 24 hours before the schedule.

If you go through a tour company rather than the official site, you may have to pick your tickets up from a representative somewhere near the castle.

An informal ticket collection point that can be easily missed

Having had a negative experience with a tour operator that the official museum staff couldn’t help with, I strongly suggest buying skip-the-line tickets through the official site.

You can also consider buying tickets on the day, but they limit the number of people allowed in each hour, so you may have to wait in line under the Roman sun.

A group of people standing in front of a stone wall

Description automatically generated with medium confidence

Waiting in line

Free Entrance

Entrance to Castel Sant’Angelo is free for everyone on the first Sunday of the month. Just turn up and wait in line (in summer, don’t forget to bring a hat and some water) – there’s no pre-booking available that day.

Opening Times

09.00 – 19.30 Tuesday to Sunday

Closed every Monday, January 1, and December 25

A person standing next to a sign

Description automatically generated with medium confidence

The line is divided for those with and without tickets

When to Visit Castel Sant’Angelo

In the summer months, the best time to visit Castel Sant’Angelo is in the late afternoon. 

You’ll be out in the sun for quite a bit of the visit, so it’s more pleasant to go in the cooler hours. And, of course, the views as the sun sets over the Eternal City are quite beautiful.

If you aren’t staying in the area, you can combine it with a trip to the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s. Visit the museums and basilica in the morning, take a leisurely lunch in the Borgo to recover your energy, then finish the day at Castel Sant’Angelo.


You need to be able to walk up and down a lot of steps to visit Castel Sant’Angelo.  It is not adapted for wheelchair users.

There are steps to every level



There are several restrooms, both on the ground and upper floors.


The bar on the first floor has to be one of the most picturesque in Rome. It’s a great place to enjoy a Spritz and drink in the stunning views.

If you want to sit down, there is table service. Find a table with the view you want, grab a seat, and a server will appear eventually. 

Seating under grapevines on the walkway outside the bar

They also serve some food if you’re really hungry, but prices are better outside.

Sandwiches on sale inside the bar

Drinking Water

It’s always a good idea to carry a water bottle with you in Rome. The city has loads of drinking fountains where you can get fresh water, including this one inside Castel Sant’Angelo.

A drinking fountain


There is a small souvenir shop selling books, t-shirts, bags, and some Castel Sant’Angelo-themed jewelry. 

A couple of t-shirts on a wall

Description automatically generated with low confidence

Books, magnets, and t-shirts in the gift shop

Angel jewelry

Your Visit

Once your ticket and bags have been checked at the entrance, you’ll start your visit at the base of the castle. 

You won’t have any problems finding your way as the route is well-marked and easy to follow.

The route is well-signposted and easy to follow

The Ground Floor

The first part of the visit takes you around the Roman wall of Hadrian’s mausoleum that still forms the lower part of the building. Here you get an idea of the size of the original mausoleum and see some of the statues that have been discovered here.

The Roman walls of the base of Castel Sant’Angelo

Some of the statues thrown on the Visigoths, perhaps

The Ramp

After walking around the base and coming back to the entrance, you go down some steps to reach the start of the ramp. 

A group of people walking down a stone tunnel

Description automatically generated with medium confidence

Entering the mausoleum

The ramp twists all the way around the mausoleum before you reach some steps that lead to the Urn Room.

A group of people walking in a tunnel

Description automatically generated with medium confidence

Walking up the ramp

The ramp is original, and Hadrian’s funeral procession would have passed along here to the Urn Room. Once, it was decorated in marble and mosaics, but today you will only see brick.

When the mausoleum became a fortress, the ramp was buried because it would have been too easy for invaders to break in this way.

A picture containing cave, ruins, wall, stone

Description automatically generated

Verse by Hadrian inside the Urn Room

A picture containing daylighting, window, symmetry, indoor

Description automatically generated

Inside the Urn Room

The Papal Apartments

One flight up from the 2nd-century burial chamber, you’ll find yourself in the 16th-century apartments of Pope Clement VIII. 

Clemente VIII is famous for being the first pope to enjoy coffee. He also locked a lot of people up in Castel Sant’Angelo, including Giordano Bruno and Beatrice Cenci, who were both executed nearby.

A person standing in a room with a mural on the wall

Description automatically generated with low confidence

The Room of Justice, where Bruno and Cenci were condemned

Lots of popes contributed to the transformation of the fortress into a papal residence. 

A picture containing building, outdoor, statue, sculpture

Description automatically generated

The bees show the Barberini pope, Urban VIII, was here

One of the first was the antipope Pope Nicholas V, who had the Room of Apollo built. After ordering the execution of a straw puppet of the official Pope, he ended his days imprisoned in the Papal Palace in Avignon.

A group of people in a room with ceiling paintings

Description automatically generated with low confidence

The Room of Apollo

The most famous pope associated with Castel Sant’Angelo is probably Pope Clement VII. In 1527, when Rome was under siege by the emperor’s troops, he escaped along the passage that connects the castle with St. Peter’s and stayed there for 7 months. 

The Walkway

On the next level, you’ll start to see some of Castel Sant’Angelo’s fabulous views. 

A person looking at a city

Description automatically generated with medium confidence

The first glimpse of St. Peter’s Basilica

The circular path will take you all the way around the building. The first part is open, with views of the Vatican and the Prati neighborhood.

Fancy a break after all those steps? Keep going round, and you’ll come to the bar.

A group of people sitting on a bench in a hallway

Description automatically generated with low confidence

The Loggia of Paul III

You can also sit in the painted Loggia of Pope Paul III. He was a great art lover who commissioned Michelangelo to paint The Last Judgment on the wall of the Sistine Chapel.

The next part has been closed in with glass, so you can still enjoy the views when the temperature drops.

A picture containing sky, building, wall, outdoor

Description automatically generated

A walkway for all seasons

The Paolina Room 

A group of people in a room with art on the ceiling

Description automatically generated with low confidence

The Paolina Room

The most lavish room in the castle was where Pope Paul III entertained his guests. The side walls have stories from the life of St. Paul. On the ends are the Archangel Michael and Hadrian.

A picture containing painting, art, visual arts, drawing

Description automatically generated

Even the doors are impressive

There is a small art gallery on one side.

A group of people looking at paintings

Description automatically generated

A picture containing building, tree, outdoor, plant

Description automatically generated

The Loggia of Julius II

The Angel Terrace

Probably the best thing about Castel Sant’Angelo is the views of Rome, and you’ll find the best views from the terrace at the top. 

You can also see the Palace of Justice, the Vittoriano, the low dome of the Pantheon, the Tiber River, many of Rome’s beautiful churches, and the Ponte degli Angeli (Bridge of the Angels).

This bridge was first built by Hadrian to connect his mausoleum with the city. The angels holding the symbols of passion are the work of Bernini and his students in the 17th century, but the 3 central arches of the bridge are still the original Roman ones.

Ponte degli Angeli

How Castel Sant’Angelo Got its Name

According to legend, during the Roman Plague of 590, Pope Gregory I had a vision of the Archangel Michael over the castle. The angel was putting his sword into its sheath, symbolizing that the plague was over. The castle was named for the angel, and a statue was quickly built.

For a while, the statues were not very lucky, one was smashed, another struck by lightning, and the next melted down into weapons. But 2 have survived.

Outside the papal apartments is a marble angel from 1544 with metal wings.

A statue of a person with a shield and sword

Description automatically generated with low confidence

Angel #5

And the angel on the top of the castle, about to sheath his sword, was made for the Jubilee of 1750.

A statue of a person holding a sword

Description automatically generated with medium confidence

Angel #6

The Ramparts

The final part of the visit is to the defensive ramparts that surround the castle.  You can walk all the way around the four sides and see the surrounding moat, part of the passage to the Vatican (not regularly open to visitors), and quite a few weapons.

A picture containing building, outdoor, sky, ruins

Description automatically generated

The battlements

A stone wall with a hole in it

Description automatically generated with low confidence

Just add cannon

A picture containing outdoor, sky, cloud, grass

Description automatically generated

The passage to the Vatican passes through the former moat
(now a park)

Cannonballs and a wooden catapult


A picture containing outdoor, sky, cloud, building

Description automatically generated

Walking along the walls of Castel Sant’Angelo,
with St. Peter’s Basilica in the distance

Did you Know That: 5 Interesting Facts 

  1. Castel Sant’Angelo means Castle of the Holy Angel. It earned its name in the 6th century when Pope Gregory had a vision of the archangel Michael above the castle. He believed it marked the end of a great plague that had blighted the city.

  2. The castle played refuge to Pope Clement VII in 1527 after an attack on Rome by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. The pope used the secret passageway Passetto di Borgo to escape the Vatican.

  3. Castel Sant’Angelo was the tallest building in Rome during ancient times. 

  4. The famous angel statue above the castle is the sixth iteration. It has been destroyed five times since the 11th century.

  5. Augustus’ mausoleum is across the Tiber River from Castel Sant’Angelo; it served as inspiration for Hadrian.


Castel Sant’Angelo has had a busy and turbulent existence for almost 2000 years. These are the main events that occurred during that time:

  • AD 134 AD – AD 139. Castel Sant’Angelo is built. It was commissioned by Emperor Hadrian to be his tomb.

  • AD 217. The last Roman Emperor known to be entombed in the mausoleum, Caracalla, has his remains placed inside the tomb.

  • AD 401. Castel Sant’Angelo sees its first change in purpose: it becomes a military fortress incorporated into the Aurelian Walls.

  • AD 410. The Western Roman Empire falls. Rome is sacked, and the urns of the mausoleum are destroyed.

  • AD 1277. The Vatican is linked with Castel Sant’Angelo by a hidden passageway, the Passetto di Borgo. The castle is to be a refuge for the Pope if ever needed.

  • AD 1527. Holy Roman Emperor Charles V sacks Rome. Pope Clement VII uses the secret passage Passetto di Borgo to escape the Vatican and hide in Castel Sant’Angelo.

  • 15th-16th century. Italian Renaissance occurs. Works from the likes of Michelangelo and Raphael are added to the Castel Sant’Angelo.

  • 17th century. The castle is used as a prison – executions are performed on the grounds.

  • 1901. The castle is decommissioned as a military building, and restoration work begins.

  • 1925. Castel Sant’Angelo becomes a museum, Museo Nazionale di Castel S. Angelo, and holds collections of ancient artifacts (with a focus on military history).
Castel Sant'Angelo map

Address: Castel Sant'Angelo, Lungotevere Castello 50, 00193 Roma, Italy · view larger map