When it was first built by Emperor Hadrian, this was meant to be a mausoleum for him and his successors. Over time, it suffered a series of transformations that have almost completely erased the traces of the glorious "Hadrianeum".
In the 14ht century, the popes transformed the mausoleum into a castle and Pope Nicholas III even connected it to St. Peter's Basilica by a covered fortified corridor. This corridor was to be used as an escape route in the event of danger. The castle also had a treasury room, right in the center of the fort, keeping safe all riches during the Renaissance.
The popes converted the structure into a castle, from the 14th century; Pope Nicholas III connected the castle to St. Peter's Basilica by a covered fortified corridor called the Passetto di Borgo. The fortress was the refuge of Pope Clement VII from the siege of Charles V's Landsknechte during the Sack of Rome (1527), in which Benvenuto Cellini describes strolling the ramparts and shooting enemy soldiers.
Today, the castle is a museum, officially known as Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant'Angelo.
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