Castel Sant'Angelo is a vestige of the imperial era: built as a mausoleum for Hadrian, during its history it has been a prison, a fortress and even a papal residence. You can visit it at your own pace by buying tickets on your own, or join a guided tour. I'll tell you how.
St'Angelo Castle entrance ticket at the best price
If you want to go inside the castle to get to know its interior spending the minimum and having the freedom to explore it at your leisure, this is the best option.
One of the two options you have for this visit is to buy tickets to Castel Sant'Angelo online. These include an audio guide, which you can download to your cell phone and will help you orient yourself during the visit, and have the great advantage of allowing you to skip the entrance queue, for a price of $ 24
Although you will not have the professional narration of a guide, it is possible to make this visit entirely on your own: the main itinerary is marked and if you use the audio guide it is difficult to miss the most important places of the fortress.
I recommend it if... you prefer to do this tour on your own and at your own pace, without depending on a group and a fixed schedule.
Visit St'Angelo Castle with a specialized guide
Perfect if you want to discover inside the best kept secrets of this castle, its history and legends with an expert local guide.
The tour starts at Ponte Sant'Angelo, which you will cross accompanied by your guide to reach the castle that rises in front of you, stopping to admire the statues of angels resting on both sides of the bridge. Before entering the fortress, you will see the secret tunnel that connects Castel Sant'Angelo to the Vatican, and the wall that guards it.
Once inside the castle, the tour of Castel Sant'Angelo will take you on a journey in which you will discover the evolution of the building from its construction to the present day, passing through different historical stages during which Castel Sant'Angelo served as tomb, prison, and papal refuge.
I recommend it if... you are especially interested in learning about the history of Castel Sant'Angelo. In my experience, a guided visit is always more interesting than a tour on your own, and understanding the importance of a place is the first step to admiring it.
How to buy tickets online
My recommendation is to buy tickets online and in advance whenever you can. You will save hours of queuing at the entrance and you will also be able to compare prices, availability and schedules. This advice applies to any ticket you have to buy for a visit during your trip, since in my opinion the advantage of not waiting and the assurance of access are two very considerable advantages.
Castel Sant'Angelo ticket prices
General admission is about 19 €, reduced to 7 € if you are a European citizen between 18 and 25 years old. Children under 18 pay 4 €, and on the first Sunday of each month the entrance to the Castle is free for all visitors.
If you are one of those who travel without a fixed plan, you can also buy your tickets for the Castle of Sant'Angelo at the ticket office. The drawbacks are the same as always: you will have to wait in line, which depending on the time of year can take a lot of time out of your day, and the price will not always be cheaper.
Opening hours and days
You can visit the Castel Sant'Angelo every day of the week from 9:00 to 19:30. Much of the interest of this building lies in its panoramic views of Rome from the terrace, so it may be a good idea to time the end of the visit to coincide with sunset.
Alex's Traveller Tip
The views of the Tiber River, the Ponte Sant'Angelo, and St. Peter's Basilica from the terrace of the Castel Sant'Angelo are beautiful at sunset, so I recommend a late afternoon visit.
How to get there
This historic building is within walking distance of the Vatican. To go by metro, the nearest stations are Lepanto and Ottaviano, and you have plenty of buses that stop within walking distance: 62, 23, 271, 271, 982, 280, 40, and 34, to name a few of the main lines.
Tips for visiting Castel Sant'Angelo
If you want to visit more attractions, buy the Roma Pass
If you were thinking about buying the Roma Pass, you will be interested to know that the entrance with audio guide and without queues is included in this tourist pass. I recommend you to take advantage of the pass and visit the Castle, as in my opinion it is one of the most interesting entrances it offers.
Use the online audio guide
Remember to bring your cell phone if you buy the ticket online, as well as being easier to present the ticket at the ticket office you will need it to take the audio guide, which you can listen to through an app.
What to bring
The castle is not a place of religious worship, so unlike the vast majority of major buildings in Rome you won't have a dress code to adhere to. However, I recommend you wear sneakers with good soles and be careful with the steps and some of the corridors as they can be a bit slippery.
Be prepared for a quiet visit
Of all the tourist sites in Rome, Castel Sant'Angelo is not one of the most visited due to the sheer number of interesting sights in the city. This means that, with a bit of luck, your tour of the building will be fairly quiet and uncrowded, making it the perfect experience for a slightly more relaxing day on your trip to Rome.
What you will see at Castel Sant'Angelo
In case you buy the ticket for this historic building and prepare the visit on your own, here is the itinerary of the Castel Sant'Angelo, marked with informative panels and led by the audio guide. On the guided tour, you will follow a similar route.
- The bastions: During the siege of Rome in 1527 by the troops of Charles I, Pope Clement VII used the Castel Sant'Angelo as a refuge. In the bastions still rest the cannons that defended the fortress from what is known as the 'sack of Rome', and you can walk around them while admiring magnificent views of the Vatican.
- Il passetto: The so-called 'Il passetto di Borgo' is the wall that connects the Vatican with Castel Sant'Angelo. Inside, it hides a passage through which the Pope could move to the fortress from the Vatican in case of an assault.
- Hadrian's Mausoleum: Little remains of the splendor of this room, which used to be lined with huge marble slabs, and where the ashes of **Emperor Hadrian'**s family were kept. Later in its history, it became a prison cell where today there is a somewhat eerie atmosphere.
- Angel's Courtyard: The marble sculpture of the Archangel Michael that is preserved today in this courtyard is the one that originally crowned the Castel Sant'Angelo, and the one that gave the fortress its name. It was sculpted to commemorate the vision that Pope Gregory had at the top of the castle, in which he saw the Archangel appear to announce the end of the plague that was ravaging Rome at the end of the 6th century.
- Papal apartments: Here you will find the most interesting rooms of the Castle, decorated with Renaissance frescoes by artists of the school of Raphael and where it is possible to imagine the luxury dedicated to the Pope's residences to which they would retreat in case of danger.
- The upper terrace: One of the highlights of the visit to Castel Sant'Angelo. From here, you will have views of the most emblematic sites of the city and you will be able to appreciate details of the basilica and the dome of St. Peter's that cannot be seen from anywhere else. Here you will also find the statue dedicated to the Archangel Michael, which crowns the castle and is visible from afar.
Other experiences that may also interest you
If you have not yet booked a general tour of Rome, let me tell you that it is one of the best experiences to get to know the city in the first days of your trip, and then explore it on your own. I recommend you stop by here: Top 11 tours of Rome.
And before you book your Vatican tickets anywhere, here is a complete guide on how to buy them online at the best price and with a few tips that will enhance your visit: Vatican Museum Tickets: how to buy, prices and discounts.
Finally, keep in mind that Castel Sant'Angelo is in the area of St. Peter's Basilica, the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, so if you are thinking about how to plan the day after a visit to any of these places I recommend you take advantage to take the tour of this imperial mausoleum.