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Castel Sant'Angelo Audio Guide: Rome's Most Enduring Monument

Unlock the 2,000-year-old castle’s history, from safe rooms to centuries-old art
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Audio Guide Details
1 hour 15 minutes
Product Type
Audio Guide
Castel Sant'Angelo
Preview Castel Sant'Angelo Audio Guide: Rome's Most Enduring Monument
Part Tomb, Part Castle, Part Palace
How the Castle of the Angel Got Its Name
Photos & Highlights
Audio Guide Description
Get ready to take a 2,000-year stroll back through time at one of Rome's most unique archaeological sites with our Castel Sant'Angelo audio guide tour. Built in 139 AD, this historic monument has a unique story as it was never abandoned and was continuously repurposed through the centuries. Packed full of centuries-old paintings, sculptures, and military memorabilia, visitors are treated to 58 rooms of treasures. On this self-guided audio tour of Castel Sant'Angelo with historical archaeologist and Context Travel expert Philip Ditchfield, you'll visit the Room of Urns, where emperors found eternal rest safeguarded from intruders by ingenious trap doors and murder holes. We'll also uncover stories about the five popes and countless cardinals executed here, view the Roman equivalent of Alcatraz, visit the Pope's piggy bank, and ascend to the breathtaking Terrazzo dell’Angelo to enjoy a 360-degree panoramic view of the city.

On this self-paced exploration of one of the largest monuments ever built, you'll visit the Castle of the Angel and discover the fascinating history behind its transformation from a pagan building to a Christian stronghold, marked by the auspicious sighting of an angel by Pope Gregory during the plague era. You'll delve into the creation of the monument's wide staircase and how the key feature constitutes a fortified escape corridor in order to link up the Vatican to the citadel. You'll explore the courtyard, witness the grim history of condemned prisoners shot during the fight for Italian unification, and marvel at the wooden drawbridge, a vital defense mechanism sealing off the fortress from invaders. You'll learn about the fortress's evolution into a papal residence in the 1300s, designed to shelter popes during times of peril, and admire its imposing architecture, symbolizing papal power over Rome and beyond.

As you ascend to Angel's Terrace for breathtaking views of Renaissance and Baroque Rome, you'll get a glimpse of  the path of the historic Passetto, a one-mile escape route connecting the citadel to the Vatican. You'll wander through the semi-circular courtyard, once a venue for plays and parties hosted by influential figures like Pope Alexander VI, and visit the prison courtyard where notorious figures like Benvenuto Cellini were incarcerated. You'll start and finish the tour by crossing the ancient Sant'Angelo bridge, witness to both tragic accidents and grim executions, as you gain insights into daily life within the castle's formidable battlements, adorned with intricate frescoes and ornate decorations.
Join Philip as you navigate this historic wonder guided by his expert insights and unlock the mysteries of Rome's 2,000-year old monument. 

The National Museum of Castel St Angelo is open from 9 AM till 7:30 PM except on Mondays, and the last entrance is at 6:30 PM. Please note that the Castle is closed on Mondays, December 25th and January 1st.

Tickets are mandatory to visit the museum, and admission tickets can be purchased here

Meet Your Expert

Philip has been working in Rome as a historical archaeologist for the last twenty five years. Trained as a byzantinist, he has excavated on numerous sites in England, Greece, Cyprus and Italy. During his doctorate at the Sorbonne, he specialized in the material culture of southern Italy during the Middle Ages. His nine hundred page encyclopedia, entitled "Culture Materielle Medievale" has been hailed as a classic in its field, bringing to light hundreds of previously unknown words and terms in medieval Latin and Greek that pertain to everyday household objects and paraphernalia. In the last decade he has started to diversify his historiographical approaches, exploring hypnosis as a possible means of resolving historical and archaeological problems. His most recent (Amazon) publication "The Hypno-Archaeologist" is 650 pages long and comprises scores of hypnotic regressions, where subjects have been taken back in trance to recount their past lives. Philip still spends the greater part of his time writing in Rome's archives, but he now returns regularly to the UK to teach regression to students of clinical hypnosis.

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Yes! All of our audio guides have the option to turn on closed captioning should you have difficulty hearing the expert.

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(5.0) 2 Reviews

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Outstanding storytelling and narration, highly recommended!