clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Tour the Grounds in Vatican City, Now Opened to the Public

Centuries-old and spanning 75 acres in Vatican City, the formal gardens at the Pontifical Palace of Castel Gandolfo—a hilltop retreat about 40 minutes away from the center of Rome—have long been a shrouded mystery to the outside world. Much to the delight of the religious and the garden-enthused alike, though, Pope Francis at last opened the doors to the formerly off-limits grounds for guided group tours this Spring. Designed in the 17th-century under Pope Urban VIII's advisement and rehabbed in the 1930s, the Tyrrhenian Sea-facing land features meticulously kept-up three-tiered gardens, groves of orange and lemon trees, "perfectly pruned parterres," koi ponds, and grottoes lined in (surprise!) religious statues. According to Architectural Digest, there are also both grand pathways and secret little corridors reminiscent of the unbeatable Versailles property. Save on air fare and check it out, below:

· Garden of earthly delights [Architectural Digest]
· The 40-Year Garden: The Making of 1,976 Acres of Versailles [Curbed National]