Imperial Power, Papal Fortress and amazing Renaissance frescos in one unique site: St.Angel Castel in Rome!

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These days in the role of the Attractions Expert and Blog Editor at doitwell, I chose another location in Rome. However, in this adventure, I was not alone which is usually the case but I was with Nicole Cutrufo, our doitwell founder. We often discuss what to explore in the city and we have decided to have a site inspection at one of the iconic places in Rome, not far from the Vatican. Its shape is visible from the wonderful bridges of the eternal city and in recent years the number of visitors has been steadily increasing. In 2017 there were already 1,1 million visitors. This result is officially provided to us by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage. Link1Link2

From my standpoint, this attraction has a complex charm that can intrigue a wide range of ages. It was born as an imperial mausoleum and then turned into a papal fortress; I have not mentioned here yet, I’m talking about St. Angel Castel!

The experience with Nicole was very interesting and productive because as we have illustrated before, at doitwell we love to wear customer’s shoes and enhance the guest experience. No sooner said than done! 

Nicole and I turned in two ordinary tourists, forgetting our backgrounds, and for me especially forgetting this was certainly not the first visit to the monument. Nicole was the ideal person for this type of cultural inspection. She shared with me what she is used to at theme park check-ins, the show quality, the little details, how the families are treated if the attractions are really accessible for all. Nicole’s background comes from her incredible career from theme parks in Florida.

Our visit lasted a couple of hours which turned out to be the right time also to allow us to take a break in the fantastic restaurant with a breathtaking view of St.Peter’s Dome. Even a less experienced eye is able to grasp from the outside that he is about to enter a place rich in history! 

I work as a guide in Rome and I have a university degree that focused on art history and criticism. As I often tell my clients I am an art book that can be browsed and questioned for every need.  I also like to tell you a little about the historical and artistic part of the attractions that I visit.

At first St.Angel Castel, was an imperial mausoleum built during the 2nd century by the emperor Adrian then it was transformed into a papal fortress from the 14th century with a series of modifications over the centuries. The triumph of the Renaissance charm came with Paolo III Farnese, that was the moment when the best artists in Rome were called to decorate some rooms, which still stunned the visitors today.

Thanks to the new point of view provided to me by Nicole we noticed at the entrance, the poor care of the panels that showed the opening times and the price of the tickets, the small text was hard to see and semi-permanent fix’s were used with tape.

From the ticket office, the route is mandatory and one-way. The only exception is for those who need to use the lift. The monument is quite accessible for different disabilities.

Once inside there were signs instructing on how you can download an App that tells the story of the structure.  WiFi was required to use the App but even if you don’t want to rely on technology, there are the classic panels with Italian-English explanations positioned at the points of greatest interest.

More than a visit it is a real walk inside a castle that shows its ramparts and its walkways. Amazing!

The price of the admission ticket is standard and the cherry on top is the panoramic terrace from one of the highest points of the city. Once to the top, you are rewarded with a beautiful view of Rome and, you will find this bar-restaurant featured in all the tourist guides! It’s time for an unforgettable break, but the best is yet to come!

With St. Peter Basilica and dome in the background its a strategic point for a photo. We had the impression that often the tourist enters by curiosity and because they know that they can reach the top of the terrace.  

The big terrace welcomes us with the statue of the Archangel Michael which symbolizes a miraculous event that took place in 509. During a procession directed by Pope Gregorio Magno wanted to intercede and put an end to a pestilence that was devastating Rome, appeared right on the top of the mausoleum the Archangel in the act of sheathing his sword to indicate the end of the plague.

Getting to the top is always a fantastic emotion, especially in these weeks when Rome seems overwhelmed by a new spring, with warm temperatures and lots of sunshine. And as much Rome is our city, its charm has no end. The view is spectacular! Rome is there in front of us at 360 degrees, you can see all the major monuments. 

As Goethe said: Rome is the capital of the world. In this city is a link and the entire history of the world, and I count on being born a second time, to be truly risen, the day I set foot in Rome. The beauty I have raised gradually until their height.

Our walk in this fortress was enjoyable, thumbs up as we like it! We found an extremely clean monument, a detail not be overlooked, with enough toilet facilities and a wardrobe. We learned the different historical moments and stratifications of the monument, walking on the ramparts we imagined the potential of this structure, a musical background that reproduces the artillery sound. The simplest things are sometimes the most brilliant to intrigue the public. As well as the pergola with flowers and leaves that twists on the restaurant terrace. It’s a pleasant reminder to stop for a break.

In the checklist of things to do in Rome, surely time must be given to this attraction. 

Every time I am about to visit a new attraction I do it with a very clear methodology. It’s really a checklist that I have in mind and I try to fill in, tick off or change and that allows me to take home the result that doitwell is interested in, to give unforgettable travel experiences and always be ready to return the highest quality. In my eyes, this is quite simple and immediate. My experience is literally divided into two sectors: art and tourism management. It’s like having a pc screen on the head, some guidelines that don’t distract me from the final goal by setting aside what Selenia is looking for as a professional in the sector in favor of what our Guest is looking for.

All in all, I suggest in an ideal itinerary is to visit St. Angel Castel on the same day when you visit the timeless Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica or if you prefer in a day-off that includes the popular district of Trastevere within walking distance.

Selenia Morgillo

Selenia Morgillo

Selenia Morgillo is an Attractions Expert at doitwell. Her specialty centers around providing doitwell’s Clients with the best experience. She focuses on understanding Attractions and how guests interact with them. Selenia is also an Art Historian, Tour Director, and Tour Guide in Europe. With her extensive studies in both the Arts and Tourism Management, Selenia’s unique background (especially behind the camera ) is what gives her such a curious eye for essential details and a passionate and soulful edge. On top of the formal arts, she has a passion for archeology, architecture, traveling, food, and photography. Born in a small town near Naples, Selenia currently lives and works in the “Eternal City” of Rome.

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