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Nighttime stroll through historic Vatican escape route proves popular

2013-09-14

The sight is perhaps one of the most privileged in all of Rome. On one side, theres an ancient tomb, that was later turned into a fortress, on the other thecenter of Catholicism. Connecting both landmarks is a small foot bridge, named the Passetto di Borgo, which connects directly to the Vatican. 

ALDO MASTROIANNI
Program Coordinator

"The passetto has a very rich history. There are also so many legends, many stories surrounding this monument.”

Built in 1277, the history of the Passetto, or walkway, is intricately tied to the Vatican. In times of turmoil, the hidden passage offered Popes a safe way out of the Vatican, and into Castel Sant'Angelo.

This escape route saved the lives of several Popes. The most notable example took place in 1527, when soldiers from Emperor Charles V's army ransacked the Eternal City, as the capital of the Papal States.

ALDO MASTROIANNI
Program Coordinator

"Pope Clement VII, Medici, saved himself. Thanks to the Passetto, he reached the castle as Rome was being sacked. He kept his own freedom.”

The Passetto eventually became part of the Castel Sant'Angelo Museum, where its history came alive year after year.

ALDO MASTROIANNI
Program Coordinator

"It has really become the main attraction. It's beautiful to take stroll during the cool summer nights in Rome, and to see this captivating view.”

Access to the Vatican from the walkway is now sealed off. And because of security concerns, public access to the Passetto is limited to summer nights. But, it's at night time when the full splendor of the walkway shine brightest.



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