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Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo & Pontifical Villas Gardens

€33
Mobile Ticket
1 hr. - 2 hr.
Audio Guide
  • Drown yourself in history as you experience a holy detour in the sleepy town of Castel Gandolfo, a short 12 miles out of Rome.
  • Discover this treasure trove of art and history as you explore the Pontifical Villas of Castel Gandolfo dotted with picturesque lush gardens and medieval palaces.
  • Equipped with your multilingual audio-guide (available in 6 languages -Italian, English, Spanish, German, French, and Russian), discover the Papal Villas of Castel Gandolfo, the perfectly manicured green gardens of Villa Barberini and other Baroque buildings and fountains in the compound.
  • Walk the footsteps of the Popes around the 7 rooms and summer offices inside the Palace and even gain access to the Pope's spartan bedroom, supposedly the place where several Jewish women gave birth during the Nazi Occupation of World War II.
  • Please note that shorts and sleeveless shirts are not permitted in the Apostolic Palace.
  • Children aged 6-18 and students under the age of 25 enjoy reduced ticket prices, and those aged below 5 do not require a ticket. Additionally, families with a minimum of two children can get a family ticket.
  • These tickets cannot be cancelled, amended, or rescheduled.
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In the midst of the lush greenery and scenic views of the Italian countryside, lies the tiny town of Castel Gandolfo. The town, located on the Alban Hills and overlooking Lake Albano, hosts around 9,000 residents. Visitors from all over the world flock to this town to see the Papal Palace of Castel Gandolfo or the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo.

The Papal Palace of Castel Gandolfo is part of a 135-acre (54.6-ha) complex with buildings surrounded by beautiful gardens. It served as the summer home of the Pope, the leader of the Catholic Church, for centuries. In 2016, it was opened to the public as a museum. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Apostolic Palace on your next visit to Rome and Vatican City. 

Post-COVID-19 Safety Measures at the Castel Gandolfo Papal Palace

  • It is recommended that guests book their tickets online to visit the palace. You can select your preferred date and time slot for visiting.
  • It is mandatory that all visitors wear masks throughout the duration of their visit.
  • The temperature of all visitors will be checked before entry. Any visitor displaying a temperature higher than 37º C will be denied entry.
  • Arrive at the Palace at the time allotted on the ticket. Once, the time slot passes you will not be allowed entry.
  • All guests must maintain a minimum of 1-meter social distance between others.
  • Guided tours can include a maximum of 25 persons (including the guide).
  • Hand sanitization stations are available for public use.
  • Use of elevators will be restricted to those with mobility issues or other health conditions.

Why Visit the Papal Palace of Castel Gandolfo?

Castel Gandolfo Papal Palace
  • Explore the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo, the summer residence of the Pope, for centuries prior.
  • Around 20 rooms of the Papal Villas are open to the public, allowing visitors to understand the Popes’ lifestyles over the last 500 years.
  • Paintings, relics, and liturgical vestments, throughout the museum tell the stories related to the Popes that used this residence.
  • Interesting artifacts are also on display, such as the sedan chair of Pope Pius IX and the BMW used by Pope Wojtyla. 
  • Enjoy a refreshing walk through the lush gardens of Villa Barberini, the private garden of the Pope.

Legal status of the Castel Gandolfo Papal Palace

As per the Lateran Treaty of 1929, the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo falls within the Italian territory but is owned by the Holy See. It also enjoys extraterritorial status and is exempt from Italian taxes and expropriations. Italian authorities are prohibited from entering the Palace without the consent of the Holy See.

What to See at the Castel Gandolfo Papal Palace?

Here are the top highlights of the Pope's summer residence.

Castel Gandolfo Papal Palace

The Apostolic Palace

This papal summer retreat was designed by Carlo Maderno for Pope Urban VIII in the 17th century. The Apostolic Palace opened its doors to the public in 2016 when Pope Francis decided to forego it as his residence and chose a Vatican City guesthouse. The Papal Palace has now been turned into a museum which has Vatican-related artifacts, such as the costumes and cars of former popes. Tourists have access to the papal apartments with marble flooring, the papal portrait gallery, the summer office and even the private bedroom.

Villa Barberini, Castel Gandolfo Papal Palace
Belvedere Gardens, Castel Gandolfo Papal Palace

Belvedere Gardens

Meaning ‘beautiful view’, the Belvedere Gardens were also built on Emperor Domitian’s grounds. You will find the famous cryptoporticus or covered passageway of the emperor here. Dozens of plants and vines creep up against it, but the architectural feat of its design is clearly visible as you step inside. In fact, this 300-meter long covered walkway served as shade when Domitian went for a walk, and was also responsible for providing shelter to those who fled to Castel Gandolfo from the Nazis.

Papal Farms, Castel Gandolfo Papal Palace

Pope's Farm

The Pope’s Farm inside the palace is a 50-acre, family-run farm that produces everything that the Pope eats. Fresh produce, including handmade cheeses such as pecorino, mozzarella, and ricotta, yogurts, eggs, milk, cauliflower, and broccoli, is shipped on a daily basis to the Vatican. This organic farm is beautifully maintained with over 1,000 olive trees. These trees are tangible history as half of them have been standing since 1200. You can also walk through several orchards and vineyards on the grounds.

Inside the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo

What is Inside the Castel Gandolfo Papal Palace?

Inside the Castel Gandolfo Papal Palace, you can view its rich furnishing and decor. Peruse the papal portrait gallery. Visit the groom's room, statues and paintings of former popes, the clock parlor, and the throne room and view various pontifical artifacts. One of the 20 marble-floored rooms in the papal apartments is the gallery of Alexander VII, where you will find a bust of the late Pope John Paul II. You can even see the Pope's bedroom, believed to have been used by several Jewish women as a delivery room during World War II.

Who Lives at the Castel Gandolfo Papal Palace?

The 17th-century Apostolic Palace that overlooks Lake Albano used to be the summer residence of the Pope. The first pope to use it as a summer residence was Urban VIII in the 17th century. Since then, it has been used by around 15 Popes to escape the Roman summer heat. In 2016, Pope Francis, however, decided to forgo using the palazzo, finding it to be too extravagant, preferring to spend his summer at his home in the Vatican. Since it was opened to the public no one resides at the Papal Palace of Castel Gandolfo.

Can Visitors Go Inside the Castel Gandolfo Papal Palace?

Yes, your Castel Gandolfo Papal Palace tickets will allow you access to the earlier private summer residence of the Pope. Enjoy the view of the sparkling waters of Lake Albano and the green countryside. Along with the Papal Palace in the sleepy town of Castel Gandolfo, you will be able to explore the lush gardens of Villa Barberini and Belvedere Gardens. With the help of an audio guide, you will be able to explore and better understand the significance of the summer residence of the Pope.

Plan Your Visit to the Castel Gandolfo Papal Palace

Opening Hours
Getting There
Tips & Rules
What are opening hours of the Castel Gandolfo Papal Palace?

January- March 2022

The Papal Palace will be open Monday to Friday, from 8.30 AM to 2 PM. The last entry is at 1 PM. On Saturdays, the palace will be open from 8.30 AM to 5.30 PM. The last entry is at 4.30 PM.

Closed: The Palace will remain closed on February 11, March 19 and on Sundays.

How long is a tour of the Papal Palace?

On average, you can expect to spend at least 2 hours touring the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo.

Where is the Papal Palace of Castel Gandolfo located?

It is located at Piazza della Libertà, 00073 Castel Gandolfo Città Metropolitana di Roma, Italy.
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How can I get to the Papal Palace of Castel Gandolfo?

You can get to the Papal Palace of Castel Gandolfo by either train, bus or car.

Can I take the train to Castel Gandolfo?

From the Roma Termini station in Rome, Castel Gandolfo is about 40 minutes away by train. Get off at the Castel Gandolfo stop and walk towards Piazza della Liberta. From here, you can walk to the entrance of the palace.

Can I take the bus to Castel Gandolfo?

Yes. You can take buses from Anagnina point in Rome to Castel Gandolfo. Though the buses are less frequent, you'll reach fairly quickly.

Is photography allowed at the Papal Palace of Castel Gandolfo?

Yes, photography is allowed. However, the use of flash, tripods or selfie sticks is not permitted.

Is storage facility available at Papal Palace of Castel Gandolfo?

No, storage facility is not available. Large bags and luggage cannot be carried inside, only small backpacks and handbags are allowed.

Are outside food and drinks permitted inside Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo?

No, outside food and drinks is not permitted inside the palace. A restaurant is open to visitors here.

Is the Papal Palace of Castel Gandolfo wheelchair-accessible?

Due to the uneven pathways and stairs, the grounds cannot accommodate wheelchairs. However, inside the museum, ramps and elevators are available for differently-abled visitors to comfortably move around.

Brief History of the Castel Gandolfo Papal Palace

The Apostolic Palace, also known as the Papal Villas, has been in the Vatican’s possession since 1596 when it was seized from the Savelli family, who failed to pay their dues to the church.  Experts believe that Pope Urban VIII Barberini (1623-1644) was the first pope to vacation at this residence in 1626. Since then the Palace has been extensively restored and expanded to its current luxurious state.

Most of Pope Urban VIII’s successors used the Apostolic Palace as a summer retreat and vacation home. The Palace is designed with ornately-decorated rooms, including a private room and chapel for the Pope. Between 1870 and 1929, due to territorial disputes in Italy, the Popes did not leave the Vatican, and hence, the Apostolic Palaces were not in use. Pope Pius XI started using the retreat again in 1934 after having the facilities at the palace modernized.

Pope Pius XII and Pope Paul VI died in this room in 1958 and 1978 respectively. Pope John Paul II was criticized for having a swimming pool built here.

In March 2014, the Vatican opened the Barberini Gardens to visitors. In September 2015, a train that was previously reserved for use by the pope to travel from Vatican City to Castel Gandolfo was opened to the public. By the end of the same year, products from the farm were made available for purchase by the public.

On 21 October 2016, the Papal Palace of Castel Gandolfo was opened to the public for viewing.

All Your Questions About the Castel Gandolfo Papal Palace Answered

Q. Is the Castel Gandolfo Papal Palace open?

A. Yes, the Apostolic Palace is now open to to visitors.

Q. Are tickets to the Castel Gandolfo Papal Palace available online?

A. Yes, guests can pre-book their tickets online now to visit the Castel Gandolfo Papal Palace and Gardens.

Q. What does my Castel Gandolfo Papal Palace tour include?

A. You can visit the Apostolic Palace, adjoining pontifical gardens and depending on your ticket, you may have access to Villa Barberini and its gardens.

Q. Is access to the Castel Gandolfo Papal Palace included in Vatican tickets?

A. No. You would have to specifically book tickets that include access to the Castel Gandolfo Papal Palace and its gardens.

Q. What are Castel Gandolfo Papal Palace opening hours?

A. The palace welcomes visitors on Monday, and Friday between 8.30 AM to 2 PM with final entry at 1 PM and on Saturday from 8.30 AM to 5.30 PM, with final entry at 4.30 PM.

Q. What should I wear to the Castel Gandolfo Papal Palace?

A. Since the Palace holds significant religious and historical importance, visitors are expected to dress modestly. Shorts or sleeveless shirts are not allowed. Wear comfortable shoes for easy exploration.