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Castel Sant Angelo, Rome

Castel Sant Angelo, Rome (Known places)

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Tags: rome (22 pics)

Castel Sant'Angelo

The Mausoleum of Hadrian, usually known as the Castel Sant'Angelo, is a towering cylindrical building in Rome, initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family. The building was later used as a fortress and castle, and is now a museum.

Hadrian's tomb

The tomb of the Roman emperor Hadrian was erected on the right bank of the Tiber, between 135 and 139. Originally the mausoleum was a decorated cylinder, with a garden top and golden quadriga. Hadrian's ashes were placed here a year after his death in Baiae in 138, together with those of his wife Sabina, and his first adopted son, Lucius Aelius, who also died in 138. Following this, the remains of succeeding emperors were also placed here, the last recorded deposition being Caracalla in 217. Also buried there were the bones of Julia Domna and her son Publius Septimius Geta. The urns containing these ashes were probably placed in what is now known as the Treasury room deep within the building. Hadrian also built the Pons Aelius facing straight onto the mausoleum – it still provides a scenic approach from the center of Rome and the right bank of the Tiber, and is renowned for the Baroque additions of statuary of angels holding aloft elements of the Passion of Christ.

Museum

Decommissioned in 1901 (119 years ago), the castle is now a museum, the Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant'Angelo.

Popular culture

The Castel Sant'Angelo appeared in Dan Brown's 2000 (20 years ago) novel Angels & Demons. The location was the secret lair for the Hassassin and was seen as the last existing church of the Illuminati. The book also emphasized the Passetto di Borgo as a secret way of getting from the Vatican to the castle. It also appears in the 2009 (11 years ago) motion picture, Angels & Demons, as one of the locations where a clue that leads to the papal assassin resides.

The castle appeared in the movie Roman Holiday in a scene taking place on barges on the river below.

In Puccini's opera, Tosca, the Castel is where Cavaradossi is held prisoner. After murdering Scarpia in his private room at the Palazzo Farnese, Floria Tosca goes to the Castel Sant' Angelo, safe conducts in hand, where her lover, Mario Cavaradossi is to be executed. She has been led to believe it will be a mock execution and is horrified to find her lover dead. Rather than be arrested by Scarpia's henchmen, she throws herself from the rooftop.

In the Trinity Blood novels, a castle called San Angelo is the seat of power for the Catholic Church, though it is not known whether this is the same castle as the one in real life.


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