Visit Castel Sant'Angelo – archaeological site and museum, with a past as fortress, prison, and papal residence – site of episodes of great artistic and historical importance. The National Museum of Castel Sant'Angelo is home to numerous collections, which are largely accessible to the general public, including furniture, furnishings, and precious sculpture and paintings. Collections also include valuable Renaissance ceramics and fragments of monumental sculptural decoration of the Roman era, brought to light from the ancient tomb of Hadrian in the course of numerous excavations and restoration.
Built around 123 A.D. as a tomb for Emperor Hadrian and his family, Castel Sant'Angelo has had an atypical destiny. While all the other Roman monuments were swept away, reduced to ruins, or used as “quarries” to be recycled into new, modern buildings, Castel Sant'Angelo – through an uninterrupted series of developments and transformations that seem to slip into each other with seamlessly continuity – accompanies almost two thousand years of the fate and history of Rome.
Address: Lungotevere Castello 50, Rome.
Open from Tuesday to Sunday, 9:00am to 7:30pm. The ticket office closes at 6:30pm.
Closed on Mondays, December 25, January 1.
- During periods of major crowding, access will be allowed to a limited number of persons in time slots.
- The Prisons, the Passetto and the Stufetta of Clement VII can be visited on special occasions or upon written request, at the management's discretion.
- Reservations must be made with a minimum of 1-day notice.
- Reserved tickets must be picked up no later than 30 minutes before the confirmed time slot. After this time, reservations will be canceled and you will lose the right to your tickets.
- Any change is subject to confirmation according to availability.
INFORMATION about access for visitors with limited mobility and disabilities:
Access restricted to a partial use of outdoor spaces. The halls of the exhibitions are not accessible to people with mobility problems.
- Cancellations and changes without penalty if communicated within 24 hours from the original booking
- For cancellations or changes up to 3 days before the date of the visit, the cost of the service is due as penalty
- For cancellation or changes from 3 days before the date of the visit, no refund of the ticket, service, or ancillary services such as guides or earphones will be granted.
- Any change is subject to confirmation according to availability.
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Built around 123 A.D. as a tomb for Emperor Hadrian and his family, and later became the family dynastic tomb for the Antonini family (with the emperors Aurelian and Honorius). Its imposing mass was included in the walls of Rome and turned into a kind of fortress for the defense of the city, and therefore called castellum. In the early Middle Ages, the legendary vision of the Archangel Michael deposing the sword as a proof of the end of the plague gave it its new name – Sant'Angelo.
Its proximity to Saint Peter's Basilica, plus its strategic position at the north entrance of the city and its closed and imposing body, made Castel Sant'Angelo center of political interests. The castle’s fate was sealed in 1367 when Pope Urban V sought the keys of the castle as a condition for the return of the papal Curia to Rome.
Since then, many architectonic interventions have added news sections. Some adapted the building to new defense requirements with the construction of bastions and the pentagonal wall. Others gave comfort to the Curia, giving the appearance of a true royal residence for pope Paolo III Farnese (1534-1549).
In more recent times the castle was used as a political prison, and renamed Forte Sant'Angelo; in 1925 it was transformed into the National Museum.
The museum was officially created in 1911 for the Universal Exhibition. In 1926 it became a Sculpture and Minor Arts Museum. At the same time, some works already purchased by the castle were transferred to Palazzo Venezia that hosted the Museum of Medieval History and the History of Rome. The important collection of paintings and furniture that decorate the historic rooms arrived at a different time.
In 1916, Mario Menotti, Roman collector, donated a collection of old paintings and decorations to the Hall of Love and Psyche (including the famous San Girolamo by Lorenzo Lotto) to reconstruct a Renaissance papal chamber. In 1928, Alessandro and Vittoria Contini Bonacosi made a similar donation to decorate the other rooms of the papal apartments.
The establishment and design of the museum are credited to Mariano Borgatti, first director of the castle. The military administration brought a rich collection of ancient and modern weapons (currently mostly in storage) and historical military antiques, almost all taken to the Vittoriano. The military footprint was kept in the museum until the 1970s, when it took a new direction with greater attention to decorations and frescoes, which were completely restored between 1979 and 1981. A new collection of ceramics from the 15th to the 18th centuries, and an interesting core of medieval and modern sculptures were also added to the museum's collections.
The museum was then enriched with a space dedicated to the history of Castel Sant'Angelo. Located in the halls of Alessandro VI, the exhibition includes a series of engravings, lithographs and reconstruction drawings to illustrate the various historical phases that have changed and influenced the monument in the course of its long history. Divided into four sections, the castle's history is illustrated by vintage lithographs, panoramas, and model reconstructions of the monument, as suggested by the imagination of artists and architects of the Renaissance, from its construction to the 19th century.
From funerary monument to fortified outpost, from dark and terrible dungeon and prison during the Risorgimento to splendid Renaissance residence and now to a museum, Castel Sant'Angelo with its solemn, strong walls and sumptuously frescoed rooms embodies the history of the Eternal City, inextricably linking past and present.
Full Price Ticket
Reduced Price Ticket
- European Union citizens aged 18 to 25
- European Union teachers
- Children up to 18 years of age
- Tourist guides and interpreters (accompanying a group), with official documentation
- ICOM members
- Italian and European school groups accompanied by their teachers or escorts
- Students and teachers of the Faculty of Architecture, Arts (archaeological or historical-artistic sections), Conservation of Cultural Heritage and Educational Sciences, Academy of Fine Arts
- Employees of the Ministry of Heritage and Cultural Activities
- Journalists with official card
- Visitors with disabilities and their caregiver
The price of the ticket is subject to change in case of special exhibitions.
Free admission the first Sunday of every month