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Summer Nights At Rome’s Castel Sant’Angelo

A friend is here in Rome this summer and wanted to visit Castel Sant’Angelo.  I have never been there before and was game to visit it with him.  I decided to see if we could get a guide to show us around the place.

The reason is because in the past I felt it would be nice to know more about a place than just walking around without knowing what you are looking at.

I had contacted A Friend In Rome, Silvia to be our guide for a late morning visit but she already had commitments.  However, she informed me that Castel Sant’Angelo is opened at night during summer and you can arrange to have a guide on the spot.

I checked the Castel Sant’Angelo website but there was no information about night hours. I finally found some information from this website which is Italian and listed the hours. To keep a long story short, we did get to visit Castel Sant’Angelo at night and it was worth it.

Updated: Information for Notti D’Estate a Castel Sant’Angelo 2012.

Summer Night Hours At Castel Sant’Angelo

The ticket is €9 a person and you can decide to join a group with a guide at no extra cost.  They also have English tours available but it is dependent on the number of people who are interested.

I have got a brochure from them and here are some of the basic information.

From 1st July to 4th September, Castel Sant’Angelo is open at night from 8.30pm to 12.30am.  The last admission is at 11.30pm.  For children under 10 years old, the entrance is free.

There is a free entrance on August 30th from 7pm to 11pm (last admission 10.30pm) on the occasion of the “Tuesday in Art” event.

Note: Please check on latest prices and details for Notti D’Estate a Castel Sant’Angelo 2012 here.

Photos of Castel Sant’Angelo at Night

Let me show you through the photos I have taken the wonders of this place.

Summer Nights at Castel Sant'Angelo

Above: I just love how the lights just add to the mystery of this place. Summer is usually quite quiet in Rome as the residents leave the city for their summer vacation.  It is mainly to get away from the heat and humidity but this year, it has been pleasant.

Notice the Archangel Michael at the top.  It’s the 7th statue as the first one was made of wood and got burnt down. The 2nd got struck by lightning and this is the 7th.  The 6th one is below!

Castel Sant'Angelo - 6th Statue

This is the 6th statue and I believe he is missing the sword.

Inside Castel Sant'Angelo

Above:  Once you step through the gates, you will see this on the right.  I was surprised that it is so well-taken care of and maintained.  Impressive!

Original Idea Of Castel Sant'Angelo

The tour starts by showing you that Castel Sant’Angelo was meant to be a mausoleum for the Emperor Hadrian and his family.  With time, it has been used as a fortress, prison and Pope’s residence.  I will show you all of this in the following photos.   Click here to learn more about the history of Castel Sant’Angelo.

Castel Sant'Angelo: The Secret Passage

I was so excited that the tour we were taking also included the Passetto.  The secret passage which connects Castel Sant’Angelo to the Vatican.  Our friend thought it was just a myth but it does exist!

Castel Sant'Angelo: The Secret Passage to The Vatican

I am going to brag because I love this photo which I took with my simple digital camera.  This is the secret passage and the guide told us we can take a walk along it but we can’t cross over to the Vatican.  A lady once did and the Swiss guards took her!  Myth or fact – I leave that to you :)

Castel Sant'Angelo - Cannon Balls

Castel Sant’Angelo was also used as a fortress and these round stones are used for the cannons.  There are bigger ones in the upper level that were used for the catapults.

Castel Sant'Angelo - Balls for Catapults

These stone balls are bigger and are used for the catapults.  The guide told us they are made of marble and the originals one.

Castel Sant'Angelo - Torture Chamber

As mentioned earlier, Castel Sant’Angelo was also used as a prison and here’s the torture chamber.  After this, we were lead to the prison area for regular folks.  However, if you were someone famous or from a noble family, you were held at a different place.  There were basically rooms which had all the amenities.  The rooms were locked but we could peek through them.

Castel Sant'Angelo - Prison

In the regular prison area, prisoners had to bend down to get through so forcing them to bow before the Pope.  The guide told us that the original entrance were much lower than this.

Castel Sant'Angelo - Power Station

Take a guess what this is?  I first thought it was the bathroom area but I was way wrong.  This is where oil is stored to power the entire place.  Yes, in modern terms it is the power station and in total, there were 3 of these.

Castel Sant'Angelo - Noble Prisoners

While regular prisoners were held in rooms with no windows and below, those prisoners who were famous and from noble families had their own rooms with windows.  The stairs lead to these rooms which had full amenities.

Castel Sant'Angelo-Pope's_Tube

This is where the Pope enjoyed his nice warm bath!

View from Castel Sant'Angelo

I am sharing this photo last as I personally love it.  I took this with a simple digital camera and was thrilled at what came out!

I hope you have enjoyed the photo tour and while there are many more grandeur attractions such as the Colosseum, make sure you also include a visit to Castel Sant’Angelo when you are here in Rome!

About Diana

19 comments

  1. Thanks for the tour. I’ve walked by it a few times but never entered.

    • Hi Thom,

      I have lived here 5 years and this was my first visit to Castel Sant’Angelo! That’s why I wrote this post because it may not look like much but it’s definitely worth the visit. It’s often overshadowed by St. Peter’s.

  2. Diana,
    This is so great! I am so happy that I am following you on Twitter and that you shared that with us!
    I will bein Rome just in time to visit the Castel Sant’Angelo… Yeah!

    I double checked the article from the website and my understanding (from the little italian that I know) is that you don’t need a guided tour to visit the Passato…(apertura straordinari tutti i giorni) or do you have to absolutely take the guided tour to visit the Passato di Borgo? If I visit the Castel at Night ( Let’s say on the Thursday or Friday night) will I have access to the Passato? Otherwise I will have to book the tour on Sunday night.

    BTW, your pictures are great… hopefully I will be able to take some good ones as well… will try to convince my hubby to carry the tripod that night!! :-)

    Thanks!

    • Hi Annick,

      Glad you will be able to visit Castel Sant’Angelo this summer!

      The place, I believe, is closed on Mondays. When we bought the entrance tickets, we were told that we could choose to follow the group tour or roam around on our own. If you decide to take the tour, you just need to put your name on the list and they will call your name when the tour starts. It’s at no additional cost and there is no advanced booking required.

      We missed the tour in English which started 15 minutes earlier and they said we needed to wait for the next one which would be in 45 mins. As we didn’t want to wait that long, we took the Italian tour which was only a 15 minutes wait and translated for our friend. I enjoyed the tour because the guide shared a lot of interesting information. And yes, the entrance fee gives you access to the Passetto. Please note that I went there at night so I am not sure if the same is true if you go there during the day.

      Hope this helps and I am glad you enjoyed the pictures! You will get great shots with a tripod :)

      All the best,
      Diana

  3. WOW! What a fascinating piece of architecture! I loved all the little tidbits you shared that you learned from your guide — good thing you were able to find one! =)

    And it’s truly amazing the kind of shots you can get with a simple digital camera. The secret passage and the Pope’s bathtub are my favorites! =) Thanks so much for sharing this, Diana!

    • Hi Sam,

      It really is and I am ashamed that it took me 5 years before stepping into Castel Sant’Angelo. It really doesn’t look like much from the outside but from the moment I set foot inside, I was impressed!

      Yeah, when I was on the tour, I loved the bits of information the guide shared and thought I would do the same on the blog. It makes it more interesting!

      Didn’t the Pope have a fancy bathtub? It’s even grand by today’s standard :)

      Hugs,
      Diana

  4. Thanks for such an exciting tour, Diana! It felt like the Da Vinci Code,, oooohhhhh……passage to the Vatican, residence for the Pope….I wonder how many secrets it holds….!!

    • Hi Joy,

      Glad you enjoyed it and yes, it does feel a bit like the Da Vinci code :) I was so excited when I found out we could walk along the secret passage hahaha. I admit that I learned more than that from this visit and I am sure there are many more secrets!

  5. Thanks for the visit! I have never been to Rome and the Castel Sant’Angelo looks great…and huge.
    To answer your question, we stayed in Sanur in Bali and visited everything from there, where did you stay? It must have been quite change from Rome!

  6. Thank you for the tour. I can’t believe they don’t charge extra to join a tour! Great photos especially the last one.

    • Glad you enjoyed it. Many tourists skip visiting Castel Sant’Angelo as there are many sites to visit on usually a tight schedule. If you can’t make it in person, here’s the virtual tour :) Thanks for the compliments on the last photo – I was thrilled it came out so well.

      Appreciate your comments!

  7. Aw missed this when I was in Rome and it was fall so not too hot or cold but the biggest thing I remember about Rome was the amazing things one encountered every time one turned a corner. It was absolutely awesome. Love the city, the food and the people.

    • Hi Roberta,

      Glad you love everything about this city!

      I know most people skip Castel Sant’Angelo because there is just so much to see. Even just walking randomly, you will find something to admire.

      Hopefully, the next time you are here, you will visit Castel Sant’Angelo.

      P.S. And do let me know – would love to meet up!

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