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Things to do in Castel Gandolfo

Our most recommended things to do in Castel Gandolfo

Vatican: Museums & Sistine Chapel Entrance Ticket

1. Vatican: Museums & Sistine Chapel Entrance Ticket

Take a stirring journey through art and religious history with skip-the-ticket-line entry to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. Avoid the long ticket lines and then enjoy your visit at your own pace.  Wander through the Greek Cross Gallery to see elaborately-carved sarcophagi that might just contain the earthly remains of some of antiquity's famous kings and queens. Peek at the Cabinet of the Masks, or tour the Sala degli Animali to see a virtual menagerie of fantastic beasts, real and imagined. Walk the Upper Galleries, including the Gallery of Maps, to see how cartographers depicted the world through the ages. See masterpieces by Renaissance masters in the Raphael Rooms, and rest for a while in the Borgia Apartments. Then, it’s time to marvel at Michelangelo’s exquisite Sistine Chapel, the crown jewel of the Vatican, and perhaps even of all the world’s art treasures.

Castel Gandolfo: Palace Ticket and Gardens Minibus Tour

2. Castel Gandolfo: Palace Ticket and Gardens Minibus Tour

Explore the Papal Palace at your own pace with a multilingual audio guide. Admire the architecture, learn its history, and discover its many collections of art, relics, and more. Extend your visit with a minibus tour of the Barberini Gardens and admire the intricate displays. Once you arrive at the Castle doors, pick up your audio guide and begin your walk through the palace. Gaze at the many treasures, from uniforms and relics to artworks and furniture. Learn the interesting history of the Pontifical Residence, commonly known as the Second Vatican. Designed by the Swiss-Italian architect Carlo Maderno for Pope Urban VIII, and it has served as a summer retreat for various popes since the 17th century. Don't forget to pay your respects to the sedan chair of Pope Pius IX, and the BMW used by Pope John Paul II, before taking the option to visit the Barberini Gardens on a 45-minute minibus tour. The gardens offer views of intricately designed shrubbery and unique fountains, the perfect finisher to the palace experience.

Vatican City: Museums, Sistine Chapel, and Gardens Tour

3. Vatican City: Museums, Sistine Chapel, and Gardens Tour

See Vatican City's top attractions on a sightseeing tour where you don't have to wait in line. Discover the treasures of the Vatican Museums with a guide or on your own. Take in the beauty of the Sistine Chapel and Michelangelo's incredible artworks. Explore the Vatican Gardens with an audio guide. Meet near the Vatican Museums and enjoy fast-track access to Europe's most renowned art collection. Dive into the art world with an expert guide or explore on your own, depending on the option chosen. Take in the Gallery of the Candelabra, the Gallery of Maps, the Gallery of Tapestries, and more. Admire the impressive collection of classic sculptures at the Pio Clementino Museum. Wander the halls of the ornate and elaborate papal apartments, including the Raphael Rooms and Borgia Apartments. Finally, step into the world of Michelangelo as you uncover the secrets of the Sistine Chapel. Continue to the Gardens of Vatican City and receive your audio guide. Learn about the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the Apostolic Palace, and the Governor's Palace. Admire St. Peter's Basilica from a unique perspective and immerse yourself in this peaceful hideaway. Or choose the option that includes the Vatican 360 experiences gives you 360 access to the Vatican City and Castel Gandolfo Starting off at the Vatican Museum, you’ll have the opportunity to explore Europe’s most renowned art collection. Accompanied by an expert guide, enjoy fast track entrance and dive into the history of the Art world. Admire the impressive collection of classic sculptures in the Pio Clementino Museum. Wander the halls of the ornate and elaborate papal apartments, including the Raphael Rooms and the Borgia Apartments. And finally, step into the world of Michelangelo as you uncover the secrets of the Sistine Chapel. Once you’ve had your art fix, it’s time to explore the Vatican Gardens. Stretching an impressive 57 acres. Enjoy the picture-perfect landscapes and uncover the impressive garden architecture that draws influence from both the baroque and renaissance era. After spending the morning at the Vatican City, it’s time to head out of town by train to explore the Papal Palace at Castel Gandolfo, about an hour north of Rome. Pick up your audio guide at the welcome desk and start your journey through the Apostolic Palace. First up, enjoy the museum and experience the intricate work of the clergy up close as you pass by historical papal gowns and the impressive display of the Pope’s portable throne. Then, it’s up to the Papal apartment. Step into the true home of Christianity as you admire the Pope’s clock parlour, music gallery, the Swiss Hall, and even the Holy Father’s library. The all-access Vatican experience wraps up with a tour of the Barberini gardens. There you’ll not only enjoy stunning panoramic views, but also a complimentary picnic with locally sourced porchetta and wine.

Rome: Pontifical Villas of Castel Gandolfo Walking Tour

4. Rome: Pontifical Villas of Castel Gandolfo Walking Tour

Travel along the dreamy Italian countryside, far away from the hustle and bustle of Rome. a true treasure trove of art and history. Visit the quaint village of Castel Gandolfo, perched atop the sapphire blue waters of Lake Albano, mushroomed around the Pope’s Summer Palace. Be accompanied by a member of the Vatican staff on a walking tour of the "green heart" of the Pontifical Villas of Castel Gandolfo. Castel Gandolfo, which served for centuries as a summer residence and vacation retreat for the pope, is spread for 55 hectares. Enjoy the walk through the botanical and architectural wonders of the Pontifical Villas of Castel Gandolfo. Its Barberini Garden produces and ships a basket of fresh produce to the Vatican. See beautifully maintained orchards, vineyards, and over 1000 olive trees around the farm. You can upgrade your walk in the Pontifical Villas with 2 wonderful options: Popes' Summer Residence Visit the Papal Apartment to delve into 500 years of history. Wander from the bedroom to the private chapel, from the library to the studio. Look at the balcony from where the Popes pronounced the Angelus every summer Sunday. Picnic in the Papal Gardens Enjoy lunch with traditional food in the garden picnic area. Savor a porchetta or vegetarian sandwich with bottled water, wine or beer, and typical wine biscuits. Immerse yourself in this treasure trove in the outskirts of Rome. Walk in the footsteps of the Popes around the 7 rooms and summer offices inside the Palace.

Rome: Pontifical Villa Gardens at Castel Gandolfo Minibus

5. Rome: Pontifical Villa Gardens at Castel Gandolfo Minibus

Explore the 55-hectare gardens of the Papal Palace of Castel Gandolfo by open minibus. Listen to the audio guide as you roam the gardens to learn all their secrets. Meet your greeter in the Palazzo before starting your tour. Climb aboard the eco-friendly minibus to discover the Castel Gandolfo gardens. See tree-lined avenues, flowers, fountains, and statues. Admire views of the sapphire blue and emerald green waters of Lake Albano. Take in the remains of Emperor Domitian's residence. Find out all there is to know about the Popes, including which pontiff installed a swimming pool and which one laid low in Castel Gandolfo for months after handing in his resignation. You can upgrade your minibus tour of the gardens. Choose from a visit to the papal apartments or lunch in the papal gardens. In the Pope's summer residence, discover five hundred years of papal history in the apartments. Wander from the bedroom to the private chapel and from the library to the studio. Gaze at the balcony from which the Popes pronounced the Angelus every summer Sunday. Or, enjoy a lunch of traditional foods in the garden picnic area. Tuck into a porchetta or vegetarian sandwich, bottled water, a wine or beer, and typical wine biscuits.

Rome: Half-Day Trip to Pope’s Summer Residence

6. Rome: Half-Day Trip to Pope’s Summer Residence

Just 12 miles outside of Rome stands the town of Castel Gandolfo, home to the Papal Residence for over 400 years. Join an exclusive tour of the Apostolic Palace and the Barberini Gardens, and walk in the footsteps of the popes. Meet your host at the Central Station Termini in Rome to board the train towards Castel Gandolfo. Your tour guide will give you an introduction of your destination, and tell you stories about the many popes, as well as Roman emperors, who used to escape from the Roman summer heat. Once you've arrived at Castel Gandolfo, walk to the Papal residence where you'll receive an official audio guide. Then, enjoy a ride on the Vatican ecological open bus for an hour around the Barberini Gardens.

Castel Gandolfo: Pope’s Private Palaces & Barberini Gardens

7. Castel Gandolfo: Pope’s Private Palaces & Barberini Gardens

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city to the tranquil Castel Gandolfo where you can follow in the pope’s footsteps. Start off at the Apostolic Palace, pick up your complimentary audio guide, and get ready for a sneak peek into the lives of the popes at their traditional vacation retreat.  Experience the intricate work of the clergy up close as you pass by historical papal gowns and the pope’s portable throne. Explore the pope’s private apartment and enjoy sweeping panoramic views from his hill-top home. Next, visit the Barberini Gardens. Explore the luxurious gardens from the comfort of an air-conditioned minibus. Uncover the history of this unique site with a complimentary audio guide, available in a multitude of languages. Enhance your experience by selecting the full-day option and enjoy a guided tour.

From Rome: Castel Gandolfo Kayak and Swimming Lake Tour

8. From Rome: Castel Gandolfo Kayak and Swimming Lake Tour

Immerse yourself in the history and nature of this peaceful lake, located just a short distance from Rome, on a kayak tour with plenty of interesting stops and technical kayaking tips. After a quick paddling, navigation and communication lesson, you will begin your tour of the lake. Stops will include the village of the millstones, the Roman port of the Villa of Domitian, the Trampoline of the Pope, and a beautiful beach reachable only by kayak, where you can swim if the weather is right. Along the way you will see the summer residence of the Popes, atop the mountain of Castel Gandolfo and surrounded by untouched nature. You can Listen to the sound of local wildlife and the water lapping, a unique and unforgettable experience so close to Rome. Your guide will provide technical assistance throughout the tour, and offer stories and anecdotes about the lake. After arriving back at the starting point, you will have the opportunity to take a shower before heading back to the capital.

Rome: Go City Explorer Pass - Choose 2 to 7 Attractions

9. Rome: Go City Explorer Pass - Choose 2 to 7 Attractions

Explore Rome at your own pace with the Go City Rome Explorer Pass. Choose from 2 to 7 attractions and tours from a list of over 35 popular activities. With a full 60 days to use your pass (which starts with your first attraction visit or tour) enjoy plenty of time to experience Rome. Visit the Colosseum and the Vatican Museums, enjoy a pizza dinner in the Prati District, go to a classical music concert, bike ride among ancient Roman ruins, and experience much more. Avoid the hassle of buying individual attraction tickets. With your pass, everything is right on your phone. Get a digital guide packed with attraction information and instructions on booking your visits. Choose any 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 Rome and Vatican attractions or activities from the following: Cultural and Historical Sights • Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill with audio tour, hosted entry, and multimedia video (R) • Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel - reserved entrance (R) • St. Peter's Basilica Guided Tour • Borghese Gallery and City Guide app (R) • Castel Sant' Angelo with audio guide (R) • Capitolini Museum with hosted entry (R) • Altar of the Fatherland Panoramic View (R) • Pantheon Guided Tour (R) Other Tours and Experiences • Big Bus Rome Hop-on Hop-off 1-Day Classic Tour • Rome Catacombs Tour including transfer (R) • Piazza Navona Underground • Best of Rome at Twilight (R) • Papal Audience (R) • Rome Ghost and Mystery Tour (R) • Bike rental with Caracalla Baths (R) • Ancient Via Appia Antica by Bike • The Three Tenors in Concert with Ballet - St. Paul's Church • Museo delle Cere (Wax Museum) • Welcome to Rome Show • Leonardo Da Vinci Experience • Vivaldi's Four Seasons Meets Bach's Masterpieces • Trevi District Underground: Small Aqueduct Domus (R) • Vigamus - Video Game Museum • Empresses, Emperors and Courtesans Tour (R) Food and Drink • Wine tasting with a certified sommelier near the Colosseum • Hard Rock Cafe Rome - Skip the Line • Pizza terrace dinner in the Prati District (R) • Healthy and fresh food break in the city center • Spritz and salad menu near the Vatican • Italian breakfast at Vero Food (city center or Prati District) (R) Reservations required. Follow the instructions on the digital guide for each attraction or tour.

Pope’s Summer Residence Tour with Lunch

10. Pope’s Summer Residence Tour with Lunch

Enjoy a unique half-day tour from Rome that will take you to the lovely town of Castel Gandolfo where you will visit the Papal Palace and its stunning landscaped gardens. Castel Gandolfo, built on the site of the legendary ancient settlement of Alba Longa, is one of Italy’s most picturesque towns and has been home to the Papal summer retreat since 1596. Situated in the Regional Park of the Castelli Romani, it enjoys splendid views over the beautiful Lake Albano, which you will be able to admire from the grounds of the Apostolic Palace. On this tour, you will be able to explore the up-to-now hidden gems of this glorious private residence with an audio-guide in the language of your choice. Following this, you will have the opportunity to see the gorgeously manicured Barberini Gardens and the impressive ruins of Emperor Domitian’s villa, before enjoying a lunch prepared with fresh produce from the palace farm! If you have not already done so, you will have the chance to add a tour of the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica with your fantastic guide onto your experience, in which case, upon your return to Rome, you will be dropped off right outside the Vatican.

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What people are saying about Castel Gandolfo

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 51,248 reviews

I booked the visit to the Vatican museums for the first week of January. I found myself very well. With the skip the line we were able to enter immediately without queuing at the ticket office. Withdrew the audio guides we were able to immerse ourselves in the beauties of the museums and the Sistine chapel. Great experience, I recommend it.

In my opinion it was the best choice. It was very easy to find the entrance and the headset. I suggest you to bring your own earphones because the divice its like a cellphone and the earphones are not included. It was very easy to use and you just need to enter the number on the device which is showned next to the exhibit for more details.

It is difficult to leave this chapel where our eyes try to imprint on our brain all the marvelous compositions of Michelangelo. And the paintings are always very fresh. A splendor

Booked visit to the Vatican Museums with "Saltacoda", everything according to the program, streamlined and fast access.

We liked the museums of Vatican even though there were a lot of people.