SANT' ANGELO is a small castle on the banks of the Tevere
located just outside of the Vatican.
The Castle, along with the beautiful Elian bridge in front of it,
was built by the Emperor Hadrian (of Hadrian's Wall fame) as a
Mausoleum for himself and for his successors. The castle was
completed a year after his death in 138 AD.
The tomb was converted into a fortress by the Emperor Aurelian in
271 AD and served as part of the defense system for Rome.
In 1277 the castle was occupied by Nicholas II, who then built a
secret passageway along the wall of the Vatican to the papal
quarters. Both the passageway and the castle were a highlight
of author Dan Brown's book Angels and Demons.
After the passageway was built, the castle remained under the
control of the Vatican, which used the castle as a fortress and a
Today the castle is a National Museum.
The upper regions of
the castle provide a grand view of both Ancient Rome and the Vatican. The bridge across the Tiber is also remarkably
photogenic, and is vaguely reminiscent of the
Charles Bridge in