The slopes of the Alban Hills, 24 kilometres from Rome, are home to the Pontifical Villas of Castel Gandolfo, the place of rest and summer breaks for many Pontiffs since 1620.
On this delightful site Emperor Domitian (81-96 AD) had built his grandiose country residence of approximately 14 square kilometres on the western side of the hill, in a position dominating the Tyrrhenian Sea.
After the fall of Rome, the site was gradually abandoned before being occupied in early 1200 by several aristocratic families who built their castles and residences there.
By the end of the 16th century the Pontiffs came into possession of the area, which became inalienable heritage of the Holy See.
Urban VIII Barberini (1623-1644) was the first Pope to stay in this residence in the spring of 1626, once the earliest works of restoration and extension of the palace, carried out by Carlo Maderno were finished. It was Alexander VII Chigi (1655-1667) who had the Pontifical Palace fully completed.
In 1870, with the end of the Pontifical State, a long period of abandonment and ruin began for the Papal residency of Castel Gandolfo and lasted 60 years.
Only after the Lateran Treaty of 1929 between the Holy See and Italy did Castel Gandolfo become the summer residence of the Popes once again.
In 1934 the Astronomical Observatory of the Jesuits was transferred from the Vatican to the Castel Gandolfo Palace, also in consideration of the fact that the Vatican area was no longer sufficiently dark for the observation of the vault of heaven.
Date and time of your visit must be pre-booked.
Visits are available every day in the morning except Sundays and Vatican festivities. Please contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to check availability
For an updated list of Vatican festivities each year, click here
Arrive at least 15 minutes before your pre-booked time at the entrance of the Palace The entry ticket includes access to the Apostolic Palace and a tour with dedicated audio-guide (available languages: Italian, English, Spanish, German, French and Russian) or with a guided tour for large groups.
DURATION The duration of the tour is approx. 60 minutes.
PURCHASE AND BOOKING
Meeting point: Castel Gandolfo, near the main entrance of the Apostolic Palace (Piazza della Libertà)
How to reach us:
Bus: Metro Linea A, direction Anagnina. Leave the train at the last stop (Anagnina). From the terminal there take the bus line Rome - Castel Gandolfo (operated by COTRAL). Leave the bus at the stop Castel Gandolfo and follow directions to the town centre (a 10-minute walk).
Train: Termini Station, train line Rome - Albano. Leave the train at Castel Gandolfo station. From there, follow directions to the town centre (a 15-minute walk)
Car: state road 7, follow the directions to Castel Gandolfo. Various free or pay car parks available. From the car park of your choice follow the directions to the town centre (between 5 and 15 minutes walking).
The wonderful gardens of the Popes' summer residence
Entrance into one of the world’s greatest museums.