We visit Castel Sant’Angelo – the castle of the holy angel – on our night Segway tour Evening Special. This massive building, built by the emperor Hadrian as his mausoleum, was later used as a fortress and a prison, and became the papal residence in the Renaissance. This change made the castle the perfect location for parties and banquets, entertainment and performances carried out at the papal court, especially during the pontificate of Leone X Medici (1513-1521).
Among this various shows, there was one that went on up to the XIX century: the so-called Girandola, huge fireworks set up for the benefit of the entire citizenship. Mentioned for the first time in 1481 and probably modified by Bernini in the XVII century, this magnificent performance was carried out by huge machines placed on the top of the Castle, which created an amazing show on rockets and fireworks, transforming the Castle into a sort of light flower.
The last record of the Girandola dates back to 1886, when it was suspended due to the damages caused by the explosions to some room decoration.
Brought back in a few years ago, in 2008, the fireworks show took place every year on the 29th of June, the day of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, in its original location. However, last year it was moved from Castel Sant’Angelo to the beautiful Pincio terrace, over Piazza del Popolo. We reach Piazza del Popolo on our Glory of Rome Segway Tour, which covers most part of the city center. Now it has ben confirmed: the show will be set on the famous terrace overlooking the city. So, those booking the Evening Special Segway tour of Rome the 29th of June, will have the chance to attend this unique fireworks show.