Castel Gandolfo
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Our most recommended Castel Gandolfo Garden & Park Tours

Rome: Vatican & Lunch at Pope's Summer Residence Day Tour

1. Rome: Vatican & Lunch at Pope's Summer Residence Day Tour

Start your 9-hour program with a bus ride to Castel Gandolfo, a secluded and charming town that’s home to the pope’s summer residence. Explore the pope’s private Barberini Gardens by mini-bus and with the assistance of an audio guide. The Papal Palace was recently opened to the public by Pope Francis. You’ll see the treasures of this extravagant yet intimate interior, including works by Bernini. Enjoy a break for lunch and some free time to explore the town before heading back to Rome. In the afternoon, begin a 3-hour tour of Vatican City at the Vatican Museums. With your priority access you’ll skip the lines, allowing more time to discover the great works of art. Continue to the Sistine Chapel, where your guide will point out amazing art including Michelangelo’s The Last Judgement – the largest fresco ever painted by a single person. The last stop on this walking tour of Vatican City is St. Peter’s Basilica, which is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture.

Sistine Chapel, Vatican Gardens & Castel Gandolfo Day Tour

2. Sistine Chapel, Vatican Gardens & Castel Gandolfo Day Tour

Start your day bright and early as you meet your tour guide at the Vatican Museums. Skip the line and enter 45 minutes before the general public with your special access ticket. After going through a brief security check, proceed inside to begin your tour starting with the best galleries. Follow your art historian guide along the tour route which includes the Gallery of the Tapestries, the Gallery of the Candelabra, and the Gallery of the Maps.  Then, learn about the history and process Michelangelo used to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel before entering to see it yourself. Continue to the Vatican Gardens, where only special tour groups are allowed to visit. With your exclusive Vatican Gardens tickets, breathe in the tranquil air of this mini paradise. After your Vatican Gardens tour, enter Vatican City’s only train station to board the train to Castel Gandolfo. Once the site of Emperor Domitian’s Villa, the Barberini Gardens boast beautifully-designed hedges situated amidst flowers, fountains and Ancient Roman ruins. Your guide will tell you stories about the history of the gardens and the many points of interest located within. Once you’ve explored the lush scenery of the Barberini Gardens, the tour will break for lunch (included with the tour). Sit down to a sumptuous spread of locally-sourced, organic Italian meats, cheeses, olive oil, tomatoes, and pasta. Then, have the opportunity to take a self-guided tour of the Papal Palace of Castel Gandolfo, the Pope’s summer residence. Now a museum open to the public, enjoy exploring the Palace’s many rooms, art galleries, and collection of cars driven by former popes. Use your round-trip train ticket to return to Vatican City and conclude your memorable experience.

From Rome: Pope's Residence and Vatican Museum Guided Tour

3. From Rome: Pope's Residence and Vatican Museum Guided Tour

Discover the wonders of the Vatican Museums and the Papal Palace of Castel Gandolfo with skip-the-line entry privileges. Enjoy private guided tours of the pope's residence and the Barberini Gardens before visiting the Vatican and Sistine Chapel. Start your journey in the center of Rome where you will board a private air-conditioned coach heading to Castel Gandolfo in the verdant Alban Hills. Your guide will fill you in on the history of this long-hidden region. On arrival, enter the Papal Residence for a private tour that includes the pope’s own bedroom, study, and chapel. Hear insights into the lives and traditions of popes of the past and present as well as the residence’s role as a sanctuary for refugees during World War II. Look out to the sea from the Papal Terrace as the popes have since the 17th century. Then, continue for a stroll around the Barberini Gardens, whose balance of Imperial Roman and classical influences surrounds the whole Renaissance complex in tranquil beauty. After some free time for lunch, the next stop is the Vatican. Bypassing the hours-long lines with skip-the-line access, you'll enter the Vatican Museums with your guide. As you move through the Gallery of Maps, the Gallery of Tapestries, the Gallery of Candelabra, and the Raphael Rooms, your guide will share the stories behind this incredible collection of art and artifacts, including stories about the items most visitors miss. Later, head to the Sistine Chapel and find yourself in awe as you step into this hushed and sacred space. With the aid of photographs and your guide’s knowledge, you’ll know exactly what to look out for when you experience the incredible detail of the chapel for yourself.

From Rome: Castelgandolfo & Pontifical Villas

4. From Rome: Castelgandolfo & Pontifical Villas

At 09:30, you will be picked up from your hotel in Rome by your driver. You'll enjoy a scenic 1-hour drive to Castel Gandolfo. Visit the Pontifical Villas of Castel Gandolfo on your own with audioguides (tickets and audioguides included), then you’ll enjoy the pretty historical center of Castel Gandolfo town and the scenic view of Albano Lake with a stop for a good lunch. After lunch, return back to your accommodation in Rome. The Pontifical Villas of Castel Gandolfo are increasingly accessible to visitors. Following the opening to the public of the Barberini Garden and the inauguration, within the Apostolic Palace, of the Museums of the Gallery of the Portraits of the Pontiffs, now the most private and reserved areas of the papal residence can also be admired and enjoyed by pilgrims and tourists. Many of the exclusive places in the Papal Apartment will be revealed to visitors: from the bedchamber to the private chapel, from the library to the study, along a rich exhibition itinerary conceived, arranged and managed by the Vatican Museums. The Pontifical Villas of Castel Gandolfo comprise about 55 hectares (11 more than Vatican City) of which 30 make up a garden while 25 are used for farming. The latter is carried out with full regard for the aesthetics proper to countryside gardening. The entire papal residence enjoys all the privileges of extraterritoriality. When one visits the pontifical estates or Villa Pontificia for the first time, he does not expect to come across the ruins of what is perhaps the most famous villa of ancient Rome, the Albanum Domitiani, the magnificent summer residence of the Emperor Domitian (81-96 AD), which once covered roughly 14 kilometers along the Appian Way towards Lake Albano. 

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What people are saying about Castel Gandolfo

Overall rating

5.0 / 5

based on 8 reviews

Fantastic tour ... less organization

The Tour was really interesting, very nice, I am satisfied. Unfortunately I am not satisfied with the organization. I booked in May the tour for August 24, Catel Gandolfo with audio guide and the Vatican Museums and St. Peter's Basilica with guide in Italian, as shown on the ticket with the personal code. On 23 August (the day before the tour) I am contacted by phone and they tell me that I made a mistake in booking, on Thursday the Vatican Museums do not have a guide, or I choose the audio guide or they reimburse me the cost of admission. I choose the audio guide, which is only for the Museums and not for the Basilica .. If it was communicated to me in May I would have changed the date. The meeting point for the bus is in via Cavour, then after Castel Gandolfo it leaves you in the area (but not close to) the Vatican Museums and gives you some (wrong) indication to collect the Vaucher for the museums. Believe me it was not easy. I repeat the TOUR was fantastic but not the organizat

Wonderful Day Tour of Castel Gandolfo, Vatican Museums and St. Peter's

Wonderful way to spend the day if you’ve already seen most of the main historical destinations in the city center. The tour began a little early (8:00 am) with a bus ride to the small town of Castel Gandolfo where the Pope’s summer residence is. We rode first by bus, then by a mini eco-train around the sites in this beautiful mountaintop town. After visiting the Pope’s private gardens and the Papal Palace, we were given some time to eat lunch and walk about town a little. This incredibly adorable town sits at the top of the mountain, overlooking the lake so on a clear day (which we luckily had) the views were breathtaking. Definitely enjoyed the morning at Castel Gandolfo more than the afternoon at the Vatican – but a visit there is a must when in Rome. If it were a longer trip, we would’ve liked to spend more time in Castel Gandolfo and around the Castelli Romani. Such a nice change of pace from the city center and so beautiful!

Amazing day trip to Castel Gondolfo and Vatican City!

The trip starts in Castel Gondolfo where we've seen the beautiful gardens of the Pope's summer residence and the Apostolic Palace. It was so beautiful and peacefull! Then we had a break for lunch and we eat in a really nice little restaurant before to go back to Rome. The visit of the Vatican Musems and Sistine Chapel was amazing, and to finish the visit to St. Peter's Basilica was wonderfull! In the morning you have an audioguide with good information and in the afternoon we had a live guide who was so nice and knowledgeable! All our day trip was really well organised, I recommend it 100%!

Just beautiful

Everything went great. Our driver to Castel Gandolfo was just great. Very personable and explained and told me a lot along the way because I also speak Italian. I then translated it into English for my relatives from Australia. Lunch in the garden was great, great atmosphere and Castel Gandolfo is a super cute little town. The view of the lake is amazing. in dream! On the way back, the driver was so nice and let us out in Termini so that we could drive comfortably and quickly to the next meeting point. Thank you again for that! It was a great experience!

Excellent tours,so beautiful residents garden for the pope!! My driver was very good.. in the afternoon did a tour of Vatican museum pier was a great tour guide very knowledgeable I learn alot from him