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The Pope's Summer Residence in Castel Gandolfo: our guide

The Pope's Summer Residence in Castel Gandolfo

Explore the Mystery of the Vatican State with a Special Experience of the Pontifical Palace of Castel Gandolfo.

The Pope’s summer Residence in Castel Gandolfo, along with its breathtakingly baroque private Gardens is one of the most historically fascinating must-see places within the Vatican State. 

Located 12 miles away from Rome, within an enchanting, small village that is surrounded by the turquoise waters of Lake Albano, The Pontifical Residence has been at the disposal of the Pope since 1596 and over the centuries it has attracted many tourists due to its beauties - there is something dreamlike about this Italian countryside. Located in the heart of the Regional Park of Castelli Romani, Castel Gandolfo gives you the opportunity to step into the timeless baroque era and recall past events.

By entering the great front door of the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo, you will step into a world of pure beauty and Art so take your time and enjoy this unique experience. The Palace was designed by Carlo Maderno, the same architect who projected the façade of the of St. Peter’s Basilica.

A day's trip away from the Eternal City's crowd, traffic and heatwave madness, the Pope's Summer Residence is the perfect place to escape and experience a dreamy, timeless atmosphere within its historically rich gardens and papal chambers.
After having been off-limits for a very long time, The Palace and the Gardens have only recently been reopened to the public thanks to Pope Frances.


The fascinating Barberini Gardens, embellished by beautiful fountains and breathtaking nature, was partially built on the villa of Emperor Domitian. Within the gardens, a Papal farm where milk, cheese and honey are produced can be experienced. The Roman Criptoportico and the Roman Theatre of Domitian's villa dating back to the 1st century A.D will take you on a journey back through time.

Next, it's time to step inside the official and private Residence of the Pope, that was in use until the Pope Benedictine XVI. Inside this Palace, we can view the famous Room of the portraits of Popes with the most recognizable Pope Julius II, who commissioned the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel from Michelangelo.

By moving on to the noble upper floor, several rooms of the Pope's apartment may be visited, among which are the Room of the Clock as well as other official Rooms where the Popes used to receive Head of States. The private Residence also allows the visit of the Pope’s private chambers including his studio and bedroom and their exquisite details.

Art lovers must not miss the chance to enter the Church of St. Thomas of Villanova designed by Bernini, as it is the epitome of classic and Baroque Art and features paintings by some of the greatest Artist of the time: The Crucifixion (1661) by Pietro da Cortona can be found on the high Altar while the right-hand Altar features Glory of St. Thomas (1661–2) by Giacinto Cimignani. The Assumption of the Virgin (1661) by Guglielmo Cortese is featured in the left-hand altar.

One of the best views of Rome’s countryside can be admired from the heart of Castel Gandolfo, make sure you spend some time walking around the charming village and discovering its local shops for cultural souvenirs and its restaurants for the experience of Authentic Roman cuisine


If you come to Rome, do not miss this magnificent place, it is a must-see location within the Vatican State! Immerse yourself in the rich culture and history of the Pope’s Summer Residence away from the crowded chaos of Rome.



27th May 2019