"Passetto di Borgo" Vatican City Things to Do Tip by Willettsworld

Vatican City Things to Do: 800 reviews and 1,514 photos


The Passetto is a passageway that connect the Castel Sant'Angelo to the Vatican Palace so that the Pope can escape in times of unrest.

The origin of the Passetto dates back to the mid 6th century when Totila, the Ostrogoth king who had conquered great part of the Italian peninsula, had a first defensive wall built on this spot. But it soon crumbled down; today, only a few stone blocks of the original structure still survive.

Pope Leo III had it rebuilt, in the first half of the 7th century, but once again the wall did not last long, and in 846 the city was invaded by the Saracens.

The conceiled passage was pope Clement VII's escape route when in 1527 Rome was sacked by the lansquenets, ill-famed German mercenaries of emperor Charles V.

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  • Written Jul 31, 2005
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