Castel Sant'Angelo was first built as a tomb by the Emperor Hadrian and slowly transformed into a fortress, where the Popes passed long periods during sieges.
Its name derives from the Angel Michael which appeared at the top of the Castle to annuounce the end of a terrible plaugue at the time of Pope Gregory the Great.
The imposing structure can be seen fully from the end of St. Angel Bridge decorated by the angels of Gianlorenzo Bernini and despite its stern appearence it hides beautiful treasures and fine decorated interiors.
It was also a jail where famous prisoners were detained: Giordano Bruno the dominican priest burnt for heresy in the middle of Campo de Fiori square; Beatrice Cenci, a noblewoman beheaded for the murder of her abusive and violent father; Benvenuto Cellini, the famous goldsmith which dared replacing with fakes, some of the precious stones of the papal tiara; Cagliostro, the famous alchemist, mason and healer passed here 16 months in a luxury prison now called Cagliostra. It was portrayed as a jail in the famous Dan Brown's best seller, Angels and Demons.
The Pauline Hall is the fanciest part of the castle with the nearby Papal Bedroom and Throne Chamber decorated with the mithological stories of Perseus and Love and Psyche and connected with the smallest and cutest spa in the world, the stufetta.
Along the walls of the hall built by Paul III, Perin del Vaga, a pupil of Raphael, painted the enterprises of Alexander the Great; odd animals and servants carrying fruits popping up from fake doors.
It is part of the Angels and Demons tour, following the plot of the famous book by Dan Brown.
In summer the dungeons and the Passetto are opened to the public and concerts are held in the castle at night.
The castle is a stone's throw from the Vatican and one of the few places opened until 7 even in winter.
There is a cafè and tables with a view at the top of the castle.
If you need any further information, contact me through http://www.mylovelyrome.com