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Rome by Night PDF Print E-mail
Jul 17, 2010 at 02:53 PM

Castel Sant'Angelo by night

Finally! After months of negotiations between the Superintendency of Rome's Archeological monuments and the relevant labor unions (who, as you will see, have not been particularly generous in making personnel available), this summer visitors to Rome will be able to take advantage of a special treat, nighttime visits to some of Rome's major sites such as the Coliseum, the Baths of Caracalla and Castel Sant'Angelo (originally known as Hadrian's Tomb as it was built to house the earthly remains of the Roman emperor of the same name.)

The first two will be open until midnight every Saturday night between August 21 and October 23, while starting now Castel Sant'Angelo regular hours will be extended to midnight every Friday and Saturday. The visit, to what is officially called the Museo Nazionale di Castel S. Angelo, can include a tour of the Passetto del Borgo, the once secret passage built in 1277 that linked the Castle to the Vatican.

However, that part of the visit, which costs €10 must be reserved in advance by telephoning to 06/32810 weekdays until and Saturday mornings until 1p.m.. History tells us that Pope Clement VII used it in 1527 to escape from the German mercenaries who participated in the 1527 Sack of Rome on orders from the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, whereas rumor has it that Pope Alexander VI used it to allow his mistresses to arrive in secret in his apartments. The passage is mentioned in Dan Brown's awful book, Angels and Demons, although he had it lead to the Pope's private library. The passage was walled up at the end of the 16th century by Pope Pius VI.

The Superintendency also announced that starting August 21st, two new monuments will be open to visitors. One is Livia's House on the Palatine Hill. The second is the Temple of the Divine Romolo at the Roman Forum. This circular structure, which was originally an entrance to a forum and then, for centuries served as the entrance vestibule to the church of Sts. Cosma and Damian, still has its original work bronze door.

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