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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)?
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.
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.
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.