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Ville Pontificie di Castel Gandolfo
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Ville Pontificie di Castel Gandolfo

Città del Vaticano, Rome

Historic garden

Contact us

Via Carlo Rosselli, 1
00073 Castel Gandolfo (RM)

Ufficio Servizi e Rapporti con il Pubblico
Tel. +39 06 698 83145
Tel. +39 06 698 84676
Fax +39 06 698 84019

GPS coordinates:
Latitudine: 41.744273
Longitudine: 12.651245


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Opening times

Information about opening times and types of the visit at Vatican Gardens and the departures and tickets of Ville Pontificie Train, are available on the official website of the Vatican Museums: www.museivaticani.va

Online booking is mandatory


The Pontifical Villas are an “extraterritorial area” of the Holy See, extending over fifty-five hectares along a tongue of land stretching from the heart of the town of Castel Gandolfo as far as Albano.

They are situated on the south west bank of Lake Albano, with a dominant view over the Tyrrhenian Sea, built over the ruins of Albanum Domitiani: one of the most famous and grandiose ancient villas, commissioned by Emperor Domitian (81-96 A.D.) as his country residence.
Even before becoming the summer retreat for many Popes, the site of the Pontifical Villas has always been significant since it was once the legendary city of Alba Longa which Titus Livy, Suetonius and Martial considered to be the origin of Rome where the twins Romulus and Remus were born.

The Pontifical Villas, resulting from the union of several properties, are enchanting in every season. Villa Cybo, purchased by Cardinal Camillo Cybo, was annexed in 1773 to the seventeenth century Giardino del Moro, directly linked to the Apostolic Palace commissioned by Urban VIII Barberini (l623-1644) who transformed the ancient fortress confiscated from the Savelli family for not having honoured a debt; while Villa Barberini, commissioned in 1631 by Prince Taddeo, was forcibly claimed by the Lateran Treaty in 1929.

Abandoned for seventy years after the end of the Pontifical State in 1870, the Palace and Pontifical Villas underwent radical transformation after 1932, to restore their ancient role of Papal holiday resort.

An exceptionally attractive path winds through this naturalistic and archaeological context, stretching from the Magnolia Garden as far as the panoramic terraces of the Belvedere Garden, passing amidst the ruins of the Theatre and the Imperial Criptoporticus. Apart from the magnificence of these archaeological remains, which mingle in an admirable, unique equilibrium with nature's splendours, it is also possible to visit the Gallery of Papal Portraits in the Apostolic Palace.

Written by dott. Sandro Barbagallo
Curator of Historical Collections of the Vatican Museums
Ville Pontificie Train
Every Saturday tourists, curious and passionates have the opportunity to take a special train. The departure is at the ancient Vatican Station inside the Pontifical State, and the arriving is at the station of Castel Gandolfo to visit de Garden.

This train has the goal to connect two very important cultural places which are Vatican Museums and Ville Pontificie in Castel Gandolfo. This is a wonderful place where art and nature coexist harmoniously.

Topics & Upcoming Events

Vegetable Gardens, Botanical Gardens and Special Collections

A direct rail link between the ancient "Vatican Station" and "Castel Gandolfo"


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