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The Castel Sant'Angelo (or Mole Adriana or "Castellum Crescentii" in X-XII sec.) Is a Roman monument, located on the right bank of the Tiber, opposite the Pons Aelius (Current Sant'Angelo bridge) at a short distance of the Vatican, in the Borgo district.
Initiated by the Emperor Hadrian in 135 as his funeral, inspired by the Mausoleum of Augustus, and completed by Antoninus Pius in 139. It was built in front of the Campo Marzio who was joined by a bridge specially built, the Ponte Elio.
The mausoleum was composed of a cubic base, covered in Luni marble, with a decorative frieze of heads of cattle (bucrania) And corner pilasters.
In the frieze overlooking the river you were reading the names of emperors buried inside.
On this side it appeared the entrance arch headed to Adrian, the dromos (Access passage) was entirely covered with dusty yellow.
Above the base cube it lays a drum made of lava stone and cement work (CONCRETE work) All covered in travertine and fluted pilasters.
On top of it there was a mound of wooded land surrounded by marble statues (there are fragments).
The mound was finally topped by a bronze quadriga led by Emperor Hadrian depicted as the sun.
Around the mausoleum ran a boundary wall with bronze gate decorated with peacocks, two of them are kept in the Vatican.
Inside shafts of light illuminated the brick spiral staircase linking the dromos to the cell in the center of the mound.
The latter, square and entirely covered with colored marble and was topped by other two burial cells.
The Castel Sant'Angelo model was built in the Abbey of Neustift in Tyrol, in the fifteenth century, a unique round church conceived as a fortress to defend against the Turks and dedicated to the Archangel Michael, that, because of its fortified character , "Engelsburg".
Very soon the building, stripped of decorations and coatings, changes intended use and becomes a fortress.
Is integrated to the Aurelian Walls in 403, it is later fortified by the popes from the fourteenth century, which was responsible for the construction of passettoThe elevated walkway that connects it to the Vatican.
There is at the same time converted into a prison, where among others was imprisoned Benvenuto Cellini in the sixteenth century.
Pope Clement VII, miraculously escaped the Lanzichenecchi of Charles V during the terrible sack of Rome in 1527 will be contained and the castle resists attempts to penetrate until the stepped-capitulation agreement between the pope and the emperor about a month later.
From this episode the usefulness of the castle strikes the eye of the Popes, who undertake great works of adaptation and will install a genuine papal residence.
The greatest artists del'epoca (Antonio da Sangallo the young, Raffaello da Montelupo, Michelangelo) work there.
The great pentagonal ramparts surrounding it, latest in a long history of fortifications, is initiated under Pope Paul IV (1555 - 1559) and completed under his successors Francesco Laparelli.
The castle took its current name in 590, during a large outbreak of plague that struck Rome.
The pope at the time, Gregory the Great, would see the archangel Michael, sheathe his sword on the top of the castle, so signifying the end of the epidemic.
To commemorate the event, the statue of an angel crowns the building (before a marble statue by Raffaello da Montelupo dating from the sixteenth century, and then from 1753, a Pierre van Verschaffelt bronze).
The Italian text is taken from:
- Wikipedia (Creative Commons)
" Photo by: Luke Barrett
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