Uncovering Angels & Demons film locales in Rome, Italy

Travel with as we take you to Rome to the filming locations and featured monuments in the latest Dan Brown book-turned-film, Angels & Demons, featuring Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor & Ayelet Zurer.

In this adventure, Robert Langdon (played by Tom Hanks) teams up with his female counterpart, Vittoria Vetra (played by Ayelet Zurer), to investigate and uncover the conspiracy secretly wreaking havoc in the Vatican and threatening the eternal city of Rome with destruction.  Read on for more!

Discover more of Rome in Irresistible Rome: 5 Classic Highlights of the Eternal City.

St. Peter's BasilicaAngels & Demons film locations in Rome

Although both the book and the film were based on these locations in and around Rome, you’ll be surprised to find out that a lot of these magnificent and intricate buildings were in fact re-created as sets in Los Angeles!

Santa Maria del Popolo was built in 1099 by the Pope and later renovated in the early 1400’s. At the Santa Maria del Popolo, you’ll see Raphael’s “Creation Of The World” mosaic on the dome of the chapel which plays a significant part in the movie, Angels & Demons. The Santa Maria del Popolo is the first church in the movie and was actually used twice as a set – once as the church itself, another as a building opposite to a police station.

The Sistine Chapel was built by Pope Sixtus IV (hence the name, ‘Sistine’) in the 14th century and its walls are the most famous in the world. Painted by the greatest artists of its time: Michelangelo, Raphael, Bernini and Botticelli, it is nonetheless known as Michelangelo’s masterpiece. It is here that the selection of new Popes is carried out by the Papal Conclave, as is seen in the movie. A full-sized set was built for filming, from the mosaic floors to massive and intricate wall paintings. To put the set together, the production designers visited the Sistine Chapel and tried to take as many photos as the could before they were asked to stop – a well-known “no-no” in the Sistine Chapel, as is speaking or making too much noise.

St. Peter’s Square & St. Peter’s Basilica is known as the centre of the Roman Catholic Church. The best time to visit is on Sunday morning to hear a mass and get a glimpse of the Pope himself. It is in St. Peter’s Square that a large part of the story unfolds, in the midst of the crowds waiting for the election of a new pope. Today, when you step into St. Peter’s Basilica, you can’t help but be amazed and stunned at the grandeur of the church. So for the filming of Angels & Demons, only small section of the church was built on a set in Los Angeles while the rest of the church was computer-generated.

Santa Maria Vittoria is known for the intricate and glorious sculpture of Bernini that resides within its marble walls: The Ecstasy of St. Teresa, finished in 1646. The statue features St. Teresa being pierced in the heart with a golden shaft, causing both pain and joy for the saint. The church was actually recreated for the movie filming but since Brown’s novel, has become a popular tourist site in Rome.

PantheonThe Pantheon is one of the most stunning and breathtaking buildings in the world and has stood at the centre of Rome for almost 2,000 years.  Its current version was built by Emperor Hadrian in 125 A.D.  The most unique feature of the Pantheon is its 7.8-metre hole in its ceiling which floods light throughout the edifice and acts as an ancient sundial.  Here you’ll find the tomb of the modern kings of Italy and of Raphael. Filming was done outside the Pantheon but a set was built for the Pantheon’s interior, mimicking everything down to Raphael’s tomb.

Piazza Navona is known as one of the most artistic and dramatic piazzas in Rome, with its colourful buildings and three prominent baroque statues. A popular place for tourists and locals to visit during festivals and celebrations, it has tons of cafes, shops and entertainers looking to make a dollar at night. The Piazza Navona part in Angels & Demons was created from its St. Peter’s Square set.  They hired a swimming pool contractor to dig into asphalt to create Bernini’s Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers) statue, an important clue on Langdon’s adventure.

Castel Sant’Angelo or “Castle of Angels” is an ancient fortressed castle built in 139 A.D. as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian, re-builder of the Pantheon. Steps from Vatican City, the fortress has also been used as a home to the Pope during difficult political times as well as a prison during Medieval times. Today, the castle serves as a historic museum and tourist attraction.

The Hotel Hassler Roma is offering an exclusive Angels & Demons Package, where guests can experience Robert Langdon’s adventure through Rome first-hand on an Angels & Demons Private Tour through the Eternal City.  The package includes 3-nights of accommodation, daily breakfast, all entrance fees, and the private tour starting at 1,710 EUR.  Go to for more.

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