Italy Trip: Castel Sant'Angelo

To be honest, I didn't have high expectations of this place. I wasn't feeling well (I unfortunately caught a mild cold), the facade isn't pretty (compared to the art museums), and it was raining almost the entire time (as you can see from the gloomy pictures).

With that in mind, we got the audio guide. It wasn't very entertaining, but it helped. It takes you step by step through the fortress and also has separate numbers for the specific art pieces.

By the end, I came to have great respect for the monument. There is so much history here, as it was once the Pope's fortress! Originally commissioned as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian and his family, it was converted to a castle at the start of the 14th century.

Walking towards the Castel Sant'Angelo, we had our very first glimpse of St. Peter's Basilica! Even in the dark clouds it looked majestic, but we wouldn't be visiting there on this day.

As you start climbing up the stairs, you get amazing glimpses outside, such as the Ponte Sant'Angelo (Bridge of Holy Angels) that crosses the Tiber River with statues sculpted by Bernini. Each angel is different: with the column, whips, crown of thorns, nail, cross, etc. These beautiful sculptures seem to guard the fortress themselves!

At the top of the Castel, you get an even better view of Vatican City! On the righthand side of the picture, you can see what looks like a brick wall. If you look a bit closer, you will see that on top of that wall was a covered walkway that the pope used to get from Castel Sant'Angelo to the Vatican safely. 

The museum doesn't have the glamorous, Renaissance art that you see in the Vatican museums or other big-name places, but I definitely recommend it. It was a nice introduction of the history of Vatican City!  Plus, if you're into Assassin's Creed my sources tell me it's a big part in the game...

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