Castel Sant’Angelo

Rome, Lazio

The eternal city has a magnificent castle that reflects its storied history. Castel Sant’Angelo is so named thanks to a 7th century legend claiming the archangel Michael appeared with his sword drawn for battle against the plague that befell the city. It is said the plague ended soon after thanks to this spiritual intervention. A statue of Michael overlooks the top of the castle.

Located in central Rome and overlooking the River Tiber, Castel Sant’Angelo was actually intended as a mausoleum when it was commissioned by Roman Emperor Hadrian in 123 AD.

Since then, it’s gone through many transformations. It has served as a fortification, a prison and even a papal residence; a fortified corridor now connects it to St. Peter’s Basilica.

The landmark has also become immortalized as one of the settings of Puccini’s La Tosca and was used in Italian director Luigi Magni’s 1973 movie Tosca. Today, the castle is home to a museum that boasts masterpieces from the Renaissance, including artwork by Raphael.