The Pope opens the Gardens of Castel Gandolfo
The Pope opens the Gardens of Castel Gandolfo

The Pope opens the Gardens of Castel Gandolfo

1 March 2014
Pontifical Villas of Castel Gandolfo

From 1 March 2014, pilgrims and tourists will can cross the threshold of the Pontifical Villas of Castel Gandolfo to visit the exclusive Barberini Garden. Accompanied in a multi-lingual guided tour, visitors will have access to the botanical and architectural wonders of the pontifical residence, known by now as the "second Vatican".


Who has never wished to visit, at least once in a lifetime, the Pope’s Gardens? That magnificent and secret place overlooking the lake of Castel Gandolfo, where the splendour of art and the glory of nature co-exist in admirable equilibrium? It took a man like Pope Francis to make this dream practicable and accessible to all. It was his decision to open his gardens to whoever may wish to visit them.

From 1 March 2014, through a system of bookings and multilingual guided tours, described here in detail, the papal Gardens of Castel Gandolfo are regularly opened to the public. This initiative will begin with the opening of the Barberini Garden, the most accessible and also the least known. Visitors entering the villa, which belonged to the Barberini family before passing to the Holy See by the concordat of 1929, will be able to admire extraordinarily evocative natural and archaeological contexts. From the Magnolia Garden to the Path of Roses, from the Path of aromatic Herbs to that of the Lilies, from the square of the holly oaks to the Belvedere Garden. The area of Villa Barberini was the site of Emperor Domitian’s Villa, and the visitor may pause among the ruins of the imperial Theatre or discover the crypto-portico, a grand and romantic ruin, worthy of the imagination of Piranesi. Looking out over the Piazzale Quadrato or the Belvedere Gardens, there is a panoramic view of all of Latium, extending out to the blue line of the sea.

Pope Francis could not have offered us a more beautiful gift.


Antonio Paolucci