September 11, 2011. (Romereports.com) Right in the center of Rome, just a few feet away from the Vatican, stands 'Castel Sant' Angelo.' Its imposing architecture attracts attention, but its history straight out demands it. “Its story never ended, that's one of the reasons why it's one of the most representative buildings in Rome,” said Art historian Lorenzo Soave.
During the summer time, it's open during nighttime. Along its dimly lit halls, locals and tourists walk along the very path used by emperors, popes, soldiers and even prisoners.
It was built as a tomb for emperor Hadrian and his family around the year 135 A.D, but with time that all changed.
“The use of this building as a tomb, didn't really last long because it was war time for the Romans.”
So, It became a fortress to protect the Roman Empire. Gradually it turned into a home for dignitaries and eventually into a second residence for popes.
Each one added his own unique touch to the Castle. This room was added on by pope Nicholas V and it was later decorated by Pope Alexander VI. The Castle's use was in full swing during the 1500's. But the connection between the Vatican and this Castle, goes far beyond these walls.
“The castle was the way to escape for the pope and a passageway called 'Passetto di Borgo' was built between the Castle and the Vatican. It allowed popes to escape from the Vatican in case of attacks and that actually happened.”
That very pathway still stands high and runs through the city's main roads. The Castle was also used as a prison for those who planned attacks against the Vatican. Once St. Peter's Basilica was finished, the use of the Castle decreased.
The city eventually turned it into a museum, where now, thousands come to learn about the past and enjoy the present in the Eternal City.