Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Castel Sant’ Angelo

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This is one Roman tourist site that I had ignored for many years, but it was smack dab in the center of three food related venues  I wanted to see on this particular trip, so I thought it was about time for me to take a look around it. As it happened there was a small cafe within the Castel, so in a minor way it became food related itself. However, that is not the reason to visit this  Roman site.

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What started out as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian in 138 AD, and where succeeding emperors were also interred, concluding with Caracalla’s ashes in 217 AD; Castel Sant’ Angelo ultimately became a papal fortress in the 14th century, after being converted to a military fortress in 401 AD. The Pons Aelius that crossed the Tiber and faced directly into the mausoleum is now known as the Ponte Sant’ Angelo, but more about that later.


The fortress, added later then rebuilt, clearly surrounds the original mausoleum and the span of centuries is quite noticeable as you look at the two walls, side by side.

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The outer walls form a pentagon that is unique on the map of Rome and no mater how bad you are with directions, you can always find this site, just follow the river and you’ll see it. Speaking of the Tiber river, that reminds me of the compelling reason to visit Castel Sant’ Angelo.


The wonderful cityscapes of Rome, as seen from the Castel, make beautiful photographs.


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From the terrace of the cafe you can take a lovely framed photo of nearby edifices by shooting your photograph through one of the windows. If that doesn’t appeal to you, just sit down, order a drink, and enjoy the shade on a hot day.


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Other ways to beat the heat would be to walk back down through the tunnels that took you into the building, or go back inside and tour the art museum. Sorry, photographs were not allowed. You could always try jumping into the old cistern if it still contains water, but I somehow doubt that would work for several reasons, including the number of guards.

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