Posted by Shazarch on 07 May 2022

Mausoleum of Hadrian

134-139 CE, Rome

Cultural site

The Mausoleum of Hadrian, also known as Castel Sant'Angelo, is a significant historical structure located in Parco Adriano, Rome. Constructed between 134 and 139 CE on the right bank of the Tiber River, it was originally intended as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian and his family. The cylindrical edifice, topped with a garden and a golden quadriga, was a symbol of imperial power and architectural grandeur. Following Hadrian's death in 138 CE, the remains of subsequent emperors were also interred here, with the last recorded burial being that of Emperor Caracalla in 217 CE. Over time, the building transitioned from a mausoleum to a fortress and was incorporated into the Aurelian Walls in 401 CE. It suffered from looting and destruction, notably during the Visigoth sack of Rome in 410 CE and the Gothic War in 537 CE. Despite this, some remnants, such as the capstone of Hadrian's funerary urn, survived and were repurposed in structures like Saint Peter's Basilica. The mausoleum's transformation continued as it became a papal fortress and residence, with Pope Nicholas III in the 14th century connecting it to St. Peter's Basilica via the fortified Passetto di Borgo. It served as a refuge during the Sack of Rome in 1527 and later as a prison for notable figures like Giordano Bruno and Benvenuto Cellini. The site also gained a religious significance when, according to legend, the Archangel Michael appeared at the end of the plague of 590 CE, leading to the castle's current name. In 1901, the Castel Sant'Angelo was decommissioned as a military fortification and converted into the Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant'Angelo, attracting over a million visitors in 2016.