Castel and Bridge…Sant’Angelo.. Castillo y Puente

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Powerful guardian of the most sacred place in the city, for almost 2,000 years, Castel Sant’Angelo has towered over the Tiber, first as a symbol of Rome’s imperial power, later as papal fortress. The stones that form it tell a story of stratification, transformation and fascinating events that have occurred over the centuries.
It was built in 123 AD by Emperor Hadrian as a monumental tomb for himself and his family. The land on which it was built had been used for burial purposes since ancient times and was in a favorable position next to the river. It was connected to land by a bridge named “Helius”, one of the names given to the emperor. But Hadrian died before the construction was finished and the emperor Antoninus Pius was the one who completed it and used it as sepulchre for his family members, of which his son, emperor Caracalla, was the most famous.
The monument consisted of three blocks, one on top of the other, and must have been an imposing sight. On its summit was a statue of Hadrian, dressed as the sun god, driving a bronze four-horse chariot. The whole gigantic building was covered with precious marble and statues. In the Middle Ages, its function changed totally: the enormous mausoleum was transformed into a fortress and over the next 10 centuries modified many times.
During that era, it was a fairly common defensive technique to reuse Roman monuments (theaters, monumental tombs, etc.) as part of the city walls to reinforce certain portions, or as military outposts in the areas most vulnerable to enemy attack. Emperor Aurelian, in 271 AD, made it part of the new system of walls and towers around the city.
Its strategic position controlling northern access to the city made it a fundamentally important outpost, thus Castel Sant’Angelo, reinforced with extra towers and walls, became a defensive bastion during the time of the barbarian invasions, and by the Middle Ages, had already been transformed into an unassailable fortress.
The Castle maintained its defensive role for centuries and its importance grew even more when the neighborhood called “Borgo” sprang up around the tomb of Saint Peter. Pope Leo III surrounded it with high walls called the Leonine walls, founding a fortified citadel around the Vatican that was ultimately completed by Pope Leo IV.
During medieval times, Rome’s most powerful families fought for control over Castel Sant’Angelo up until the return of the papal court from its long sojourn in Avignon in the second half of the 1300s, when it passed permanently into the hands of the pontiffs. Upon his return from France, Pope Urban V declared that the only guarantee of control over Rome was to give him the keys to the Castle. He defended it with a garrison of French soldiers but the population rose up against him, occupied the Castle and even tried to raze it to the ground.
Boniface IX turned it into his residence, making the unassailable fortress a symbol of the worldly power of the popes, and connected it to the outside with a drawbridge. As with all fortresses, the castle had everything necessary within its walls in case of siege: huge water cisterns, granaries, even a mill. It also had an escape route created by the popes: the so-called “Passetto di Borgo”, a secret corridor that connected it to the Leonine walls and the Vatican, a convenient passageway that guaranteed the safety of the pope in dangerous situations, something that certainly wasn’t unusual in turbulent medieval Rome. There were many popes who used it —and in a hurry, too: the Borgia Pope Alexander VI used it to escape to the castle and from Charles VIII troops. More famous was scurrying Clement VII who used it to escape the Landsknechts during the even more famous Sack of Rome in 1527, running across it, dodging a hailstorm of gunshot as no other pope had ever done before.

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Ponte Sant’Angelo, once the Aelian Bridge or Pons Aelius, meaning the Bridge of Hadrian, is a Roman bridge in Rome, Italy, completed in 134 AD by Roman Emperor Hadrian, to span the Tiber, from the city center to his newly constructed mausoleum, now the towering Castel Sant’Angelo. The bridge is faced with travertine marble and spans the Tiber with five arches, three of which are Roman; it was approached by means of ramp from the river. The bridge is now solely pedestrian, and provides a photogenic vista of the Castel Sant’Angelo. It links the rioni of Ponte (which was named after the bridge itself), and Borgo, to whom the bridge administratively belongs.
Starting with the early Middle Ages, the original name went forgotten: after the ruin of the Nero’s Bridge, pilgrims were forced to use this bridge to reach St Peter’s Basilica, hence it was known also with the name of “bridge of Saint Peter” (pons Sancti Petri). In the sixth century, under Pope Gregory I, both the castle and the bridge took on the name Sant’Angelo, explained by a legend that an angel appeared on the roof of the castle to announce the end of the plague. Dante writes in his Comedy that during the jubilee of 1300, due to the large number of pilgrims going and coming from Saint Peter, two separate lanes were arranged on the bridge.[1] During the 1450 jubilee, balustrades of the bridge yielded, due to the great crowds of the pilgrims, and many drowned in the river. In response, some houses at the head of the bridge as well as a Roman triumphal arch were pulled down in order to widen the route for pilgrims.
For centuries after the 16th century, the bridge was used to expose the bodies of the executed in the nearby Piazza di Ponte, at the left bridge head. In 1535, Pope Clement VII allocated the toll income of the bridge to erecting the statues of the apostles Saint Peter (holding a book, with the pedestal inscription Rione XIV) by Lorenzetto, and Saint Paul (holding a broken sword and a book, with the pedestal inscription Borgo) by Paolo Romano to which subsequently the four evangelists and the patriarchs were added to other representing statues Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Moses. In 1669 Pope Clement IX commissioned replacements for the aging stucco angels by Raffaello da Montelupo, commissioned by Paul III. Bernini’s program, one of his last large projects, called for ten angels holding instruments of the Passion: he personally only finished the two originals of the Angel with the Superscription “I.N.R.I.” and the Angel with the Crown of Thorns, but these were kept by Clement IX for his own pleasure. They are now in the church of Sant’Andrea delle Fratte, also in Rome.
At the end of the 19th century, due to the works for the construction of the Lungotevere, the two Roman ramps which linked the bridge with the two banks were destroyed, and on their place two arches similar to the Roman ones were built.
For the Great Jubilee in 2000, the Lungotevere on the right bank between the bridge and the castle became a pedestrian area.


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Conocido como Mausoleo de Adriano, el Castillo Sant’Angelo es una fortaleza situada en el margen derecho del río Tíber, a escasa distancia de la Ciudad del Vaticano.
La construcción del edificio comenzó en el año 135 bajo las órdenes del emperador Adriano, que pretendía utilizarlo como mausoleo para él y su familia. La edificación concluyó en el año 139, convirtiéndose, poco tiempo después, en un edificio militar que en el año 403 se integraría a la Muralla Aureliana.
El año 590, mientras una gran epidemia de peste devastaba la ciudad, el Papa Gregorio I tuvo una visión del Arcángel San Miguel sobre la cima del castillo, anunciando el fin de la epidemia. En recuerdo de la aparición el edificio se encuentra coronado por la estatua de un ángel.
En el año 1277 se construyó un corredor fortificado de 800 metros de longitud que conectaba el castillo con la Ciudad del Vaticano para que el Papa pudiera escapar en caso de que se encontrara en peligro. Durante los asedios ocurridos en Roma durante 1527, el Papa Clemente VII utilizó la fortaleza como refugio.
El Castillo de Sant’Angelo está dividido en cinco plantas a las que se accede a través de una rampa en espiral que lleva primeramente hasta la cámara de las cenizas y posteriormente hasta las celdas en las que permanecieron encerrados algunos personajes históricos.
Avanzando hacia la parte superior del castillo se pueden visitar diferentes estancias que funcionaron como residencia Papal, decoradas con frescos de la época renacentista conservados a la perfección, además de las extensas colecciones de armas.
En la planta superior está situada una gran terraza desde la que se pueden obtener valiosas fotografías de la ciudad desde las alturas.

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El Puente Sant’Angelo, originalmente pons Aelius (puente Elio), es un puente situado en la ciudad de Roma, construido entre los años 134-139 por el emperador romano Adriano, destinado a extender el centro de la ciudad a su mausoleo de reciente construcción, que hoy en día constituye el Castel Sant’Angelo. Se encuentra cubierto de mármol travertino y cruza el río Tíber con cinco arcadas.
Hoy, el puente es exclusivamente peatonal y proporciona una vista fotogénica del Castel Sant’Angelo. Enlaza el rioni (distrito) de Ponte (que recibió su nombre por el propio río) con el rione de Borgo.
En tiempos pasados, los peregrinos utilizaban este puente para llegar a la Basílica de San Pedro, por lo que era también conocido como “puente de San Pedro” (pons Sancti Petri). Bajo el gobierno del Papa Gregorio, tanto el castillo como el puente adoptaron el Sant’Angelo. Cuenta la leyenda que un ángel se apareció en el tejado del castillo para anunciar el final de la plaga. Durante el año jubileo 1450, la balaustrada del puente cedió debido a la gran multitud de peregrinos. Muchos de ellos murieron al caer al río. En respuesta, muchas de las casas que existían a la entrada del río, así como un arco de triunfo romano fueron derruidos para ampliar el paso de los peregrinos.
Durante los siglos posteriores siglo XVI, el puente se utilizó para exponer los cuerpos de los ejecutados. En el año 1535, el Papa Clemente VII destinó los ingresos del peaje que había que pagar para cruzar el puente para erigir las estatuas de los apóstoles San Pedro y San Pablo, a los que se añadieron más tarde los cuatro evangelistas y patriarcas que representaban las estatuas de Adán, Noé, Abrahám y Moises. En 1669, el Papa Clemente IX encomendó el reemplazo de los antiguos ángeles de estuco de Raffaello da Montelupo, encargados por Pablo III. Bernini programó la construcción de diez ángeles que sostenían los instrumentos de la Pasión. Él en persona acabó los dos originales de los ángeles que sostienen la inscripción “I.N.R.I.” y la Corona de Espinas, pero ambas fueron requisadas por Clemente IX para su propio deleite. Hoy se encuentran en la iglesia de Sant’Andrea delle Fratte, también en Roma.
Lista de ángeles
Ángel con la columna (Antonio Raggi, inscripción “Tronus meus in columna”).1
Ángel con las fustas (Lazzaro Morelli, inscripción “In flagella paratus sum”).2
Ángel con la Corona de Espinas (Bernini y su hijo Paolo, hoy en la iglesia de Sant’Andrea delle Fratte). Copia en el puente de Paolo Naldini (inscripción “In aerumna mea dum configitur spina”).3
Ángel con el sudario (Velo de la Verónica) (Cosimo Fancelli, inscripción Respice faciem Christi tui)[1].4
Ángel con el sudario y los dados (Paolo Naldini, inscripción “super vestimentum meum miserunt sortem”).5
Ángel con los clavos (Girolamo Lucenti, inscripción “Aspicient ad me quem confixerunt”).6
Ángel con la cruz (Ercole Ferrata, inscripción “Cuius principatus super humerum eius”).7
Ángel con la inscripción (Bernini y su hijo Paolo, hoy en la iglesia de Sant’Andrea delle Fratte). Copia en el puente de Giulio Cartari (inscripción “Regnavit a ligno deus”).8
Ángel con la esponja (Antonio Giorgetti, inscripción “Potaverunt me aceto”).9
Ángel con la Lanza (Domenico Guides, inscripción “Vulnerasti cor meum”).10
De las estatuas anteriores a la intervención de Bernini únicamente perduran los dos apóstoles, San Pedro y San Pablo.

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