Popes and Emperors:
The Ara Pacis and St. Angel Castle

The Ara Pacis and St. Angel Castle are places to learn about imperial celebrations in ancient times and the power of the Popes in the 1500--1600's. The Ara Pacis, the altar of peace, was built by the first Roman emperor, Augustus. The altar of peace was to celebrate the Golden Century founded after seventy years of civil wars. Alongside the altars are the ruins of the Mausoleum of Augustus. These ruins were designed after Alexander the Great's monumental tomb. On the other side of the river is the Mausoleum of Hadrian, now Castle S.Angelo. Originally, it was a large burial place of one of the most powerful emperors. Later it became the fortress where the Popes lived when the Vatican Palace was threatened. It contained archives, treasury, the papal jails and the passetto (the secret passage between the Castle and the Vatican Palaces) . The Ancient structure has been enriched over centuries with the Renaissance Loggia and the apartments with their beautiful grottesche. A climb to the terrace top, well known for the final scene of the opera Tosca, affords a breath-taking view of Rome. After viewing the beauty of this tour, a longer stay in the Eternal City or maybe a return trip just might be a priority!

Half day tour

visita guidata ara pacis

rome touristic guides in english language
guided tour St. Angel Castle rome