Having visited the Vatican and its museums on many occasions, during a recent trip to Rome (August 2014) I opted to visit Castel S. Angelo instead. It was a great decision! Originally built as the mausoleum of Hadrian the building was later used by the popes as a fortress and castle. As you enter and follow the winding path to the upper levels of the castle, history is revealed through the layers of time. From the top of the building, once Rome's tallest building, you will have a breath taking view of the city as well as a close up view of the arch Angel Michael who tops the castle. Lovely site to visit and when I was there in August, not very touristy.
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