ROME, ITALY: CASTEL SANT’ANGELO, SPANISH STEPS AT SUNSET, MONSTER HOUSE
This is the second half of day 2 of 6 days we spent in Rome, Italy this past March 2018. If you haven’t read the first half, you can start here. In this part, we visit Castel Sant’Angelo, a military museum with a long history. We also catch the sunset at the Spanish Steps and visit the Parthenon and Trevi Fountain before beer and burgers for dinner.
In March 2018, Zach and I visited Rome, Italy for one week. Here are the previous posts in this “Waldo in Rome” series.
Day 1, Part 1: Colosseum, Roman Forum, Trastevere
Day 1, Part 2: Capitoline Museums, Cacio e Pepe, Roma at Night
Day 2, Part 1: Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica
Where we left off…
In the first half we visited Vatican City to see the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica, we have mussels, gnocchi, and other Mediterranean goodies for lunch before walking to Castel Sant’Angelo.
Here we are outside of Castel Sant’Angelo. This was originally built in 123-139 AD by Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for his family. Originally the cylindrical building would have been decorated with a garden on top. The ashes of Roman Emperors after him were also placed here.
It’s kind of like a huge layer cake of history. It’s been adapted and reused for different reasons over the years. It never fell into disrepair like many other Roman monuments because of these transformations. It started as Hadrian’s mausoleum, then was used as a military fortress, then a prison, then was used as a lovely Renaissance dwelling, then became barracks, and now is a national museum.
Zach getting his guide book reading on. We learned that the name comes from a medieval legend—in 590 the Archangel Michael appeared here before Pope Gregory the Great to announce the end of the plague. That’s pretty nice of him.
The visit path leads you up a winding sloped staircase.
Getting higher up into the fortress. Much of the original contents of Hadrian’s tomb and the decorations on the exterior have been lost since the building was made into a military fortress in 401.
Pleasant view of the river and the bridge also built by Hadrian at the time of the mausoleum’s construction.
The views getting better and better. At the upper level we actually got to enter the central tower.
After the “sacking of Rome” in 410, looters scattered all the urns and ashes. I’m not sure what this dark passageway was for, but it seems “mausoleum” like.
Hello, greetings from the Courtyard of Honor. Not a super welcoming palace vibe, but apparently this was used as a Renaissance castle residence in the 14th century. Popes built comfortable apartments here as places of refuge when they were forced to flee the Vatican.
St. Michael the Archangel by Raffaello da Montelupo, completedin 1544.
Leaving the courtyard up some more stairs to see the apartments.
Familiar friend in the distance
My favorite thing I learned was about the Passetto di Borgo…if you look closely (well, not that closely) at the bottom right of this pic, you can see arches made of brick? That’s the passageway. I’m 89% certain.
You can see is points straight to St. Peter’s Basilica aka Vatican City. This is a fortified corridor that connected Castel Sant’Angelo to St. Peter’s Basilica for Pope’s to use to secretly flee the Vatican. One pope used this passageway and actually lived in the apartments at the Castel for 7 months during the Sack of Rome in 1527.
Now entering the Papal apartments.
This is the exact center of the building. Some scholars think this was the original burial chamber for Hadrian. Originally, this room would have been connected with the floors above, making for a more open space. But in the 16th century, this room was converted into a secret archive and cabinets were installed. Sixtus V also decided to store valuables here and hoard cash (just in case) and this huge storage box with six locks (each with a different key) still remains.
More apartments, nothing really inside, just the frescos remaining.
Thank you Zach for these highly flattering images.
Last looks to really soak in the views.
And then we made our way back down to reality.
I wandered off to the bathroom and when I came back, Zach was in the same position as when I left.
Charming trees and street vendors.
It was getting darker as we arrived in Centro Storico. We wanted to try to visit the Pantheon before it closed for the evening.
But Zach was crashing, we had to stop for a sugar rush. We passed by this Magnum Icecream shop that let you pick your own chocolate dip and toppings. It’s called the “Pleasure Store.” The funny part to me is that Magnum is a brand of condoms (maybe only in the USA?) and to call this a Pleasure Store is just adding to that joke.
There’s nothing Zach loves more than a dessert or a soup. So he recharged and bounced back real fast.
Continued walking past all kinds of fancy fashion labels that we couldn’t afford to even think about.
The Spanish Steps connect the Piazza di Spagna at the bottom and Piazza Trinita dei Monti at the top. There are 135 steps, completed in 1725. The stairway links the Trinita dei Monti church with the Bourbon Spanish Embassy. (I assume why the steps are called the Spanish Steps)?
So. Many. People. I read you aren’t supposed to eat on the steps according to Roman law but that’s basically all I saw…folks stopped for some dinner on the steps.
Once we got to the top, the view was beautiful. Sunset and some cloudy skies were magical.
We stood there as the buildings around us became saturated in orange.
Orange you glad I posted this.
Zuccari Palace windows and doors, the so-called “Monster House.” This palace was built by a Baroque artist as a studio for himself and his kids. Today the Max Planck Institute for Art History is housed inside.
Walked down the hill and towards the Trevi Fountain.
Even at night, it’s stuffed to the brim with visitors all hoping to throw a coin into the fountain. They must all be big fans of the Lizzie McGuire Movie.
Uh, Zach. The Pantheon is right behind you.
We used the free Rick Steves audio guide app again for this tour of the Pantheon. This was built between 113-125 AD as a Roman temple. It was then converted into a church. Inside some important Renaissance artists are buried including Raphael.
Our feet hurt, we were hungry and ready to relax. Our last remaining strength was used to walk to Open Baladin.
We sat at the bar and waited for a table for over an hour. But we truly didn’t mind. We were just enjoying the atmosphere, sitting down for a while, and trying some different styles of beer.
Cacio e pepe house potato chips. Mmmm, I wish I could order these all over again.
Burger we split! I don’t remember much about the burger. I think was more focused on the chips.
Hopped on a street car thinggy because we couldn’t walk anymore…
Back to the apartment where a new friend was waiting for us.
And that concludes day 2! Hope you don’t mind me splitting these posts. There were 400 photos and that felt like…way too much all together.
Have you been to any of these places before?
Thanks for reading!
Much love friends.
7 replies on “ROME, ITALY: CASTEL SANT’ANGELO, SPANISH STEPS AT SUNSET, MONSTER HOUSE”
You don’t know me, and I’m going to try and find a way to express this that doesn’t come off as deeply weird, but like a lot of others I’ve been reading your blog since I was in high school (I think you might have just started university when I started reading). There’s something extremely comforting about your posts that I can’t quite explain. Thank you for being such a bright spot in an otherwise very bleak week.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Just replying to you because I’m in my late twenties and I’ve been following Sarah since my teens, so I’m joining the creepy club ahahahha. I know EXACTLY what you mean about the posts being comforting. I ‘save’ everything until Saturday evening when I settle down with a glass of wine and read her posts. I really wish the a day in my life communities on LJ were still going. They made me feel so at peace when I was reading them.
Sorry to add to the creep train, Sarah ahahahah. I’ve mentioned this before though, so maybe you already put me on a list ;__;
P.s. SARAH!: do you just use your phone when you’re on holiday or do you bring your camera? I’m off again soon and debating what to do. Now that I’ve started getting wedding work with my camera, I feel less inclined to use it for ‘fun’ but it would be interesting to hear how you approach your holiday photos!
Rome is so beautiful – the colors are so amazing.
Loling at the Lizzie McGuire movie reference (so good!), and really into the Monster House – never heard of it, but love your pics of it. Your commentary on all your Rome pictures has been fabulous so far, btw – I love hearing things from your point of view as an art person.
I always love Europe and just viewing this makes me so happy! Thanks for the history lessons!
Magnum is so good though! 🙂
“Orange you glad I posted this.” — LOL!
And isn’t the Rick Steves audio guide the best???
I’ve been to Rome before but it’s great to see it in your eyes. So excited for the next posts!
LikeLiked by 1 person
🙂 Thank you, Tanya!!