Papal Experience: Vatican Museums & Castel Gandolfo
- Enjoy early access to the Vatican Museums and see some of the greatest treasures on an audio-guided tour
- Get special access to the private Vatican Gardens, open only to visitors on official Vatican tours
- Ride on the train usually reserved for popes, the Swiss Guard, and Vatican citizens
- Visit the gardens of the Villa Barberini, a papal villa set in the grounds of Castel Gandolfo
Get the full Papal experience on this official Vatican tour of the Vatican Museums, the Vatican Gardens, and the Villa Barberini, part of the pope’s summer palace. You’ll travel to Castel Gandolfo on the Vatican’s own train!
Your day begins at the Vatican Museums an hour before they open to the public. Head straight inside for a 2-hour audio-guided tour. Your tour leader will accompany you to ensure you see all the highlights of the Museums.
Visit the private Vatican Gardens, which are only open to those on an official Vatican tour. Popes have used the gardens for quiet contemplation since 1279, and once you see them you’ll understand why.
Stroll through the Vatican’s gardens, passing manicured lawns and exotic flowers and plants gifted to the Pope by nations from around the world, and catching glimpses of St. Peter’s Basilica and Vatican City beyond.
Your next destination is the official (and newly restored) train from Vatican City. Usually reserved for popes, the Swiss Guard, and Vatican citizens, this exclusive train will whisk you off to Castel Gandolfo, the site of the pope’s summer palace. Situated between a lake and the mountains, it’s a stunning retreat from the chaos of Rome, and a fitting location for papal contemplation.
A short shuttle ride and you arrive at the Villa Barberini section of the papal retreat. Built on the ruins of Emperor Domitian’s palace, the grounds here have been opened by Pope Francis to the public for the very first time.
After an audio-guided tour of the gardens by an eco-friendly vehicle and taking in the stunning views of the lake, you will have some free time to for lunch. Afterwards you’ll reconvene to enter the Apostolic Palace. As you spend an hour wandering the opulent corridors with an audio guide you’ll learn about the generations of Popes who have summered in this amazing residence and see some of the incredible costumes that their position has commanded.
- Audio tour of the Vatican Museums
- Stroll through the Vatican Gardens
- Tour of the Villa Barberini Gardens by an eco-friendly vehicle
- Skip-the-line admission to the Vatican Museums
- Admission to the Vatican Gardens and Villa Barberini Gardens
- Tour leader
- Round-trip transportation between the Vatican and Villa Barberini
- Admission to Apostolic Palace in Castel Gandolfo
- Hotel pick-up/drop-off
Outside the green bar in the middle of Piazza del Risorgimento Square, on the side of the square towards Via Crescenzio and close to tram stop 19. This is the only bar/cafè located on the square. The closest Metro stop is Ottaviano.
• While the Vatican Museums are equipped with elevators for wheelchair and stroller access, they are not conveniently located on the group tour route and only provide access to specific sections of the Museums. As a result, this tour is not suitable for wheelchair users
• Please remember that the Sistine Chapel is a holy place. Both men and women are asked to wear clothing that covers at least the shoulders and knees
• Visitors may only carry small handbags inside the Vatican Museums. Larger backpacks and bags must be left at the cloakroom. It is the responsibility of the guest to return to the Vatican Museums entrance to collect these after the tour
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