The Rome of Angels and Demons

Inside the Pantheon, The Rome of Angels and Demons, Rome, Italy (Photo by Rodney Campbell)
Inside the Pantheon, The Pantheon, Rome

The sights in Rome featured in the Dan Brown novel (and Tom Hanks movie) Angels & Demons

One thing all you Dan Brown fans should know: Bernini's art does not comprise some kind of giant, Roman-spanning baroque geocaching map of clues to a dark and dangerous secret.

Also, the author took several literary licenses with history (and even placement of churches around the city) in order to get his thrilling plot to tick just right.

What's more, the Vatican was (unsurprisingly) excessivley un-cooperative when the movie came to Rome to film, so none of the church interiors in which you see Tom Hanks scurrying around on the big screen are real. They're all sets based on the actual churches.

Still, for many people, Angels & Demons was their first introduction to some of Rome's excellent, slightly less famous sights, like the churches of Santa Maria del Popolo and Santa Maria della Vittoria.

For you fans, I provide the following cheat sheet to help you find all the major sights in featured in the book and movie.

Or, you might prefer simply to take an Angels & Demons–themed tour of Rome.

SPOILER ALERT

Actually, there is no spoiler. I fully intend not to reveal anything important about the plot. I'm just going to present the sites themselves below, without mentioning anything about their role in the book or movie.

If you read it or saw it, you'll know (well, if you only saw the movie, you might be confused by the inclusion of a few spots here since the book visits more places in Rome than the film did). I might later create a fans-only page that details each sights role in the plot.

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Rome sights featured in Angels & Demons

Sights in Rome

★★★
Inside the Sistine Chapel (Photo by Neil Howard)

The most famous fresco in the world: from Michelangelo's famous ceiling to his Last Judgment and the sadly overlooked walls by Perugino, Botticelli, and Signorelli

 
★★★
Inside the Pantheon (Photo by Rodney Campbell)
Free
The Pantheon
Rome: Tiber Bend

The glorious Pantheon is Rome's only intact ancient Roman temple

 
★★★
The Baldacchino over the altar of St. Peter's (Photo by Jorge Royan)
Free
St. Peter's
Rome: Vatican

St. Peter's Basilica (Basilica di San Pietro) in Rome: Motherchurch of Christendom

 
★★★
Piazza Navona at sunrise (Photo by Giuseppe Moscato)
Free
Piazza Navona
Rome: Tiber Bend

Bernini fountains, caffés, street performers, artists, and a carnival of life crowd Rome's famous Piazza Navona

 
★★☆
The Cerasi Chapel, with paintings by Annibale Carracci (center) and Caravaggio (left and right) (Photo by Frederick Fenyvessy)
Free

Rome's church of Santa Maria del Popolo is like a primer on the development of art and architecture from the early Renaissance through the baroque

 
★☆☆
 (Photo by Ben Cremin)
Castel Sant'Angelo
Rome: Vatican

The Pope's private castle and personal stronghold in times of trouble, and a museum of arms and armor in times of peace

 
★☆☆
 (Photo by WolfgangM)
Free
Piazza del Popolo
Rome: Tridente

The "People's Square" marks the northern edge of the tourist's Rome, anchoring the Tridente neighborhood and flanked by the amazing church of Santa Maria del Popolo and above it, the greenery of Villa Borghese park

 
★☆☆
Saint Peter's Square as seen from the base of the dome atop the Basilica San Pietro (Photo by Leinad-Z)
Free
Piazza San Pietro
Rome: Vatican

Bernini's elliptical colonnade and its fountains form the gorgeous front porch for St. Peter's

 
☆☆☆
A Roman-era tomb in the necropolis below St. Peter's (Photo Fabbrica di San Pietro)

The Scavi—an ancient necropolis underneath St. Peter's Basilica—supposedly contain the burial site of Saint Peter alongside other Roman-era tombs

 
☆☆☆
The Cornaro Chapel, with its Bernini sculptures (Photo by Livioandronico2013)
Free
Santa Maria della Vittoria
Rome: Termini train station

A baroque church with the bodacious Bernini set-piece of St. Theresa in Ecstasy marrying architecture and sculpture

 
☆☆☆
The stern end of the Isola Tiberina (Photo by Bgabel)
Free
Tiber Island
Rome: Tiber Bend

The Isola Tiberina, the only island in the Rome's Tevere River—and a brief history of the ancient medical profession