Exclusive Pope's summer residence tour with gardens and lunch
- Full-day guided tour of the Pope’s summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, with the Apostolic Palace and Gardens
- Delight in a buffet lunch of delicious organic products from the Pope’s private farm
- Have the privilege to stroll the lush Barberini Gardens, the exclusive private gardens of the Popes
Delight in the rare privilege of discovering the Pope’s summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, recently opened by Pope Francis for a select number of tours. Until a short time ago such a visit would have been impossible, now you'll have the privilege to experience this magical realm, filled with secrets and history.
On this unique and carefully crafted tour, you'll discover the Vatican’s most coveted getaway in Castel Gandolfo just 15 miles south of Rome in the verdant Alban hills, where you will be treated to a guided visit of the Papal summer residence, including the Apostolic Palace and the Barberini Gardens, as well as you'll have a buffet lunch on local products that come directly from the Pope’s private farm. You'll have the chance to buy these for yourself, a rare privilege usually reserved exclusively for Vatican citizens, dignitaries - the high clergy or the Pope himself.
Meet your guide, who will accompany you throughout the day at a central location in Rome before embarking on the 1-hour bus ride to Castel Gandolfo via private coach. Not only is the area sealed off from the noise and chaos of central Rome, it is also a place where nature amazingly still reigns supreme, a fact that has drawn the Popes here for centuries. Once arrived, you will stand in awe of the natural context that the Papal summer residence stands in, an immense volcanic lake whose crater walls are crowned by the Papal Palace itself.
Once arrived and fresh with the captivating stories and commentary provided by your guide, you’ll have some free time in the town of Castel Gandolfo for a coffee break, shopping for souvenirs or just exploring its narrow alleys and sweeping views with tips and recommendations from your guide.
You will then be handed over to an official Vatican guide for a spectacular 45-minute guided visit to the Apostolic Palace for an insider’s look at the rare treasures and history it contains. This 17th century abode has served as a summer residence to the Popes since Urban VIII chose it for its stunning position and panorama in 1626. Explore this remarkable complex, culminating in the breathtaking view of the surrounding landscape from the Papal Terrace, a privilege reserved for very few.
After the first leg of your visit, you'll continue with your official Vatican guide for a 1 hour and 15 minutes guided stroll covering the best of the Barberini Gardens. Built over the ruins of the Emperor Domitian’s villa, this Renaissance masterpiece can be described as nothing less than a feast for the senses. Admire the Magnolia Garden, Path of Roses, with the impressive ruins of the imperial theatre, the ancient ‘crypto-portico’ covered passageway, and more until you reach the Belvedere Gardens with sweeping views that reach all the way to the sea.
Now get ready for the rarest privilege of the day: a 10-minute shuttle transfer and you’ll be off to sample products from the Pope’s private farm for a delicious lunch. Listen to your guide as they describe the farm in detail, as well as the products and techniques that are used for everything that reaches the Papal table, all rigorously organic. You’ll then be ready to sit down and enjoy a meal fit for the Pope himself composed of yogurt, cheeses, honey, bruschetta with oil and tomatoes, salads, fresh produce and more, all produced from the surrounding land and of uncompromising quality.
After lunch, you’ll have time to buy some of these unique local products that literally can’t be found anywhere else to eat later on your trip or even take back home. After an incredible morning and early afternoon discovering the magic and wonder of Castel Gandolfo, you’ll be back on your private bus for Rome.
- Entrance ticket for the Apostolic Palace and its gardens
- Local food buffet lunch inside the Pope’s summer residency
- Tour as per description
- English speaking local guide providing assistance and expert commentary throughout the tour
- Round-trip transport from Rome in an air-conditioned bus
- Audio headsets so you can always hear your guide
- Hotel pick-up and drop-off
- Children (2 -14): reduced price
- Infants (0-1): free
Piazza dei Re di Roma, 79, 00183 Roma RM, Italy
At Piazza Re di Roma, in the exact center-point of the square.
- We regret that we are unable to accommodate guests with wheelchairs or any impairments requiring special assistance. We are also unable to accommodate strollers or baby carriages on our group tours.
- This tour ends at Piazza Re di Roma at 3:00 pm.
- Entrance into the Apostolic Palace requires a strict dress code. Knees and shoulders MUST be covered for both men and women. City Wonders cannot be held responsible for refused entry due to improper dress.
Operating Days: Tuesday, Friday
- Meeting Time: 08:15 am
- Departure Time: 08:30 am