Embark on a journey of discovery to this amazing Vatican getaway 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, coveted Private Papal Apartments, and the Barberini Gardens, as well as a once in a lifetime chance to have a buffet lunch on local products from the Pope’s private farm. You’ll even have the chance to buy them yourself, a rare privilege usually reserved for Vatican citizens, foreign dignitaries, or the Pope himself.
Meet your group’s personal Vatican expert in Rome before embarking on the 1-hour bus ride to Castel Gandolfo by private coach. As the city transforms into lush forested hills, you’ll begin to feel the enchantment of this area. Not only is it sealed off from the noise and chaos of 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.
After a quick coffee and souvenir break in the town, you’ll be handed over to an official Vatican guide for a spectacular 45-minute visit to the Apostolic Palace for an insider’s look at the rare treasures it contains, with the Papal Apartments including the Pope's private bedroom, study and chapel. 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, often referred to as the ‘Second Vatican’, culminating in the breathtaking view of the surrounding landscape from the Papal Terrace, a privilege that may even pale in comparison to the view.
Continue for an hour long stroll covering the best of the Barberini Gardens, some of the most beautiful in Italy, built over the ruins of Emperor Domitian’s villa. This Renaissance masterpiece is nothing less than a feast for the senses. Admire the evocative natural and archaeological features of this earthly paradise, including 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 views that sweep to the sea.
Now for the rarest privilege as you’re off to sample products from the Pope’s private farm for a spectacular buffet lunch. Listen to your guide as they describe the rigorously organic products and techniques used for all the food that reaches the Papal table. You’ll then be ready to sit down and enjoy a meal fit for the Pope himself composed of cheeses, meats, bruschetta with oil and tomatoes, salads, fresh produce and more, all produced from the surrounding land and of uncompromising quality. You’ll even have the chance to buy these totally unique products for yourselves.
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.
On tours cancelled more than 72 hours before the scheduled departure time, we are happy to offer our customers a full refund. For tours cancelled less than 72 hours before scheduled departure time, we are unable to offer refunds. Instead we suggest that customers reschedule their tour for another time more convenient for them.
Changes made to bookings within the 72 hour window will be subject to rebooking fees to cover the cost of tickets purchased, transport, guide rescheduling, headsets and administration.
We strongly advise against arriving at the meeting point without a booking as we cannot guarantee that there will be space left on the tour. Our guides are unable to accept payment for tours so any bookings made on the spot will still need to be processed over the phone with payment by credit card.
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