Saturday, September 29, 2018

Castel Sant'Angelo & the Ponte Sant'Angelo

Castel Sant'Angelo

where: Lungotevere Castello, 50
getting there: bus #40 or #64 from Termini
open: daily from 9:00 until 19:30, closed 1st January, 1st May, 25th December
cost: €14

Castel Sant'Angelo was commissioned by the Emperor Hadrian between 135 and 139 AD as a mausoleum for himself and his family.
It was only later that it was known as Castel Sant'Angelo from the legend of the vision of the Archangel Michael appearing on the building with his sword, to give a sign that the end of the plague of 590 was near.
In the 14th century the Popes began converting the tomb into a castle fortress and prison and connected it to St Peter's Basilica with a covered passageway called the Passetto di Borgo.
In the early 16th century Pope Leo X commissioned Raffaelo da Montelupo to create a marble statue of St Michael holding his sword to be placed on the spot that the angel had appeared.
It was replaced in 1752 by Flemish sculptor, Peter Von Verschaffelt who made a giant bronze statue of the angel. Raffaelo da Montelupo's original marble statue is in the Courtyard of the Angel.
The frescoes in Castel Sant'Angelo are stunning. Pope Paul III commissioned artist Perino del Vaga to decorate the Pauline Hall, the Love and Psyche Room, the Perseus Room and Loggia of Paul III in the mid 16th century. The work was carried out by del Vaga and the pupils from his studio between 1545 and 1547.
In 1925 Castel Sant'Angelo became a state run museum which now holds furniture, objects and weapons and a collection of paintings. The Blessing of Christ by Carlo Crivelli, St Jerome by Lorenzo Lotto, Luca Singnorelli's Virgin with Child and Saints and Luca Longhi's Portrait of a Young Woman with Unicorn. (Which is thought to have been a painting of Giulia Farnese, the lover of Pope Alexander VI, Roderigo Borgia) are among the collection.
After wandering through the rooms you can climb the stairs to the balcony below the angel for one of the best views of Rome.

Raffaello da Montelupo

Ponte Sant'Angelo

The Bridge of Angels
getting there: bus number 64 from Termini to stop Ponte Vittorio Emanuele

Originally called the Ponte Aeluis, it was first constructed over The Tiber in 136 AD to connect the city of Rome to Hadrian's Mausoleum and until the Middle Ages it was the bridge most used by pilgrims travelling to St Peter's Basilica.
In the 17th century Bernini designed the angels for the bridge, each carrying a symbol of Christ's Passion. 
Only two sculptures were personally created by Bernini, The Angel with the Crown of Thorns and the Angel with the Superscription the others where completed by artists from his studio.

Angel with the Column
Angel with the Whips
Angel with the Crown of Thorns *(original in Sant'Andrea delle Fratte)
Angel with the Sudarium (Veronica's Veil)
Angel with the Garment and Dice
Angel with the Nail
Angel with the Cross
Angel with the Superscription *(original in Sant'Andrea delle Fratte)
Angel with the Sponge
Angel with the Lance

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Helpful Hints

Getting Around

I found walking Rome was the best way to see everything.

The metro, trams and buses are also an easy and cheap option.

Buses and the metro can get crowded. Tickets must be bought before boarding and validated.

Beware of pickpockets.

Buses 40 (express) and 64 start at Termini and end near Saint Peter's, traveling past places of interest, returning the same way.

Some stops along the 64 route are:


Piazza Venezia

Via Nazionale

Corso Vittorio Emanuele II

Bus 75 takes you past the Colosseum to Trastevere

Bus 910 takes you to Villa Borghese

Ticket Options

€1.50 B.I.T (Biglietto Integrato a Tempo) is the standard ticket valid for one metro, unlimited tram or bus rides within 100 minutes.

€7.00 B.I.G ( Biglietto Integrato a Giornaliero) is a daily ticket valid for unlimited metro, tram, bus and train travel within Rome.

Purchasing Bus and Metro tickets.

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Large fines apply to travelers not holding or validating their ticket. Tickets once validated start from the time they have been stamped.

These are a few of my favourite books about Rome

The Cardinal's Hat by Mary Hollingsworth
This book tells the story of one of the sons of Lucrezia Borgia who became a cardinal during the 16th century.

The Tigress of Forli by Elizabeth Lev
I love this book telling the story of Caterina Sforza who was fighting against the Borgia pope to retain the rights of her land and her freedom.

The Popes by John Julius Norwich
A detailed but easy and enjoyable book to read about the history of the papacy and the popes.

The Pope's Daughter by Caroline P Murphy
This book describes in beautiful detail, the life and times of Pope Julius II daughter, Felice della Rovere.

The Families Who Made Rome by Anthony Majanlahti
I love this Book! It explains the families who made Rome what it is as we see it today and also looks at their triumphs, scandals and failures.

Rome by Robert Hughes
This book explains Rome from its beginning and expands on the Renaissance and Baroque until present times.

The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr
Another of my favourite reads about a lost Caravaggio painting and the search for its provenance.

other sites I trust for information on Rome are:
Rome Art Lover
Churches of Rome wiki