The mausoleum of the emperor Hadrian is one of the most significant monuments of Roman antiquity. Born as imperial sepulchre, was transformed into a fortress, then in the Papal residence, then in prison, and finally to its current location.
The National Museum of Castel Sant'Angelo is enhanced by 1 September 2012 an additional exhibition space of great interest dedicated to the history of Castel Sant'Angelo. In the rooms of Alexander VI, just restored and part of a redevelopment project and the enhancement of the Museum, the exhibition unfolds through a series of engravings, prints, paintings, and Reconstructive drawings to illustrate the many, diverse, often misunderstood historical phases that have, in the course of its millenary history, modified, influenced, changed the monument.
Divided into four sections, the history of Castel Sant'Angelo is illustrated by vintage prints, scenic views and interesting reconstructions of ideals, as suggested by the imagination of artists and architects of the Renaissance, from its construction until the nineteenth century, in a way that underscores the intense and continuous use.
Built as a mausoleum of Emperor Publius Elio Traiano Adriano (76-138 ad) and dynastic tomb for the family of Antonini, with Emperor Aurelian before and with Honorius, the imposing mole was included in the walls of Rome and turned into something of a fortress for the defense of the city. For these prerogatives, since then acquired the name of castellum, to which you will add, in early times, to sancti Angeli, from the legend of the vision of Archangel Michael which shutters sword, to witness the end of the plague.
The proximity to St. Peter, its strategic location to control the entrances to the North of the city, its mole closed and imposing Castel Sant'Angelo has made the center of political interests by tying his fortunes inextricably to the Church ever since, in 1367, Pope Urban V the Castle key demands as a condition for the return of the Curia in Rome.
Since then, numerous architectural interventions were carried out and construction of new factory bodies, faces, on the one hand, to upgrade the building to renewed defensive needs, with the construction of the pentagonal bastions and the other to make it increasingly comfortable and adequate to the aspirations of the Curia, with Paolo III Farnese (1534-1549) the appearance of a real princely dwelling.
Until more recent times, when the castle was used as a political prison, called with the name of Fort St. Angelo, and finally when in 1925 was transformed into a National Museum. Its charm remains unchanged, as well as its ability to engrave in the collective imagination of the city of Rome, with the "Pinwheel" event that is renewed every year, June 29, the feast of the patron saints of the city, whose theme is the fourth and last section.