From Rome: Pope's Summer Residence w/ Gardens & Lunch

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Key Details
6.5 hours
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What You'll Do
  • Discover Alban Hills, one of Italy’s most scenic towns, and home to the Pope's summer retreat
  • Take in the stunning view of Lake Albano from the privileged position of the Papal Terrace at the Apostolic Palace
  • Stroll the lush Barberini Gardens, the private gardens of the Popes, acclaimed as some of the most beautiful in the world
  • Enjoy the exclusive chance to savor products from the Pope’s private farm during a buffet lunch
Embark on this only full-day guided tour of the Pope’s summer residence in Castel Gandolfo with the Apostolic Palace and Gardens, as well as delight in a buffet lunch of delicious organic products from the Pope’s private farm.
What to Expect
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, but for the first time, this exclusive experience of this magical realm filled with secrets and history is made possible through an official partnership with the Vatican. On this unique and carefully crafted tour, you will go on a journey of discovery to 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 a buffet lunch of local products directly from the Pope’s private farm. You will also have the chance to buy the products, a rare privilege usually reserved exclusively for Vatican citizens, dignitaries, the high clergy, or the Pope himself and only offered by this tour operator. Meet your expert guide who will accompany you throughout the day at a central location in Rome before embarking on the hour bus ride to Castel Gandolfo via a private coach. As the city slowly transforms into lush forested hills, you will already begin to feel the enchantment of this singularly unique area. Not only is it 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 you arrive, 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.

With the captivating stories and commentary provided by your guide on the way up fresh on your mind, you’ll have some free time in the town of Castel Gandolfo for a coffee break, souvenirs shopping, 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, often referred to as the "Second Vatican," culminating in the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape from the Papal Terrace, a privilege reserved for very few. After the first leg of your visit, you will continue with your official Vatican guide for an hour and 15 minute guided stroll covering the best of the Barberini Gardens, some of the most beautiful in Italy and the world. 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 extraordinarily 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 cryptoportico covered passageway, and more until, you reach the Belvedere Gardens with its 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 lunch. Listen to your guide 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. You’ll even get to try the famed Pope’s milk. 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 during your trip or even to 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 enriched by your extraordinary experience and with plenty of time to enjoy the rest of the afternoon and evening in Rome.
What's Included
  • Pope’s summer residence with Apostolic Palace and Gardens
  • Castel Gandolfo
What's Not Included
  • Lake Albano
Meeting Point

Meeting Time: 8:15 Departure Time: 8:30 Meeting Point: At Piazza Re di Roma, in the exact center point of the square. GPS Coordinates: 41.881799, 12.514091

What to Remember
• This tour involves a fair amount of walking and stairs so comfortable shoes are recommended
• Regretfully guests with wheelchairs or any impairments requiring special assistance cannot be accommodated at this time.
• Strollers or baby carriages on group tours can also not be accommodated
• Knees and shoulders must be covered for both men and women. The local tour provider cannot be held responsible for refused entry due to improper dress

From £133 per person

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City Wonders Ltd.

Product ID: 72942