When one thinks of the Vatican, many will think of the Pope, the Sistine Chapel, or St. Peter's Basilica. However, many do not connect it with a fortress down the street. Castel Sant'Angelo is a must see. It is connected to the Vatican by a wall known as "passetto del Borgo." This wall has served as an escape route for the popes.
To most, the stone Passetto del Borgo that runs 2,600 feet from the Vatican to the Castel Sant'Angelo looks like a plain old fortification. But within its walls is a passageway that several popes have used as an emergency escape route.
The most famous escape was Pope Clement VII's escape in 1527 during the siege of Rome. Clement took refuge in Castel Sant'Angelo for six months.
Castel Sant'Angelo was built by the Emperor Hadrian in 1355 as a mausoleum. However, during the great plague that struck the city in 590, it was renamed Castel Sant'Angelo.
In 1277, the castle was connected to Vatican City with a corridor that was named "Passetto". This was the hidden Papal Escape Route.
Don't miss a visit to Castel Sant'Angelo. It is a a tomb, a fortress, a palace, and the site of horrific executions. It is a must stop when you are in Rome.