Visiting Villa Barberini
When visiting Rome, the Vatican is just a walk away. However, if you are looking to explore the Vatican and its true grandeur in-depth, a visit to Villa Barberini is a must. A tour of the Pope’s palatial summer abode, surrounded by the lush Pontifical gardens, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. In the south of Rome lies one of the most scenic towns in Italy, Castel Gandolfo. This quaint town is home to the Apostolic Palace, the private summer palace of the Popes since the 17th Century; newly opened up for the public.
What is Villa Barberini
The Pontifical Villas of Castel Gandolfo, spread over an area of 55 hectares, comprises numerous gardens such as Il Giardino del Moro, the Gardens of Villa Cibo, the Magnolia Garden, and the Belvedere Garden. Villa Barberini, a beautiful mix of botanical and archaeological beauty, is one of the key highlights of Castel Gandolfo. Built during the Renaissance era, on the grounds of the splendid Roman villa of Emperor Albanum Domitian the garden is home to centuries-old holm oak trees, some as old as 400 years.
Why Visit Villa Barberini?
With its rich history and scenic views, a day trip to Villa Barberini is a great way to get a calm, relaxing break from the crowded streets of Rome. Castel Gandolfo is situated next to Lake Albano, and the Apostolic Palace, also known as the Papal Villas, lies in a beautiful garden setting. In 2015, Pope Francis opened up the grounds of Apostolic Palace and Pontifical gardens to the public for the first time in history. Now, one can take a guided tour of the premises and gaze upon the beauty of Villa Barberini, a treasure of the Vatican.
You can relax in the shade of Giardino Della Madonnina, a favored spot of many previous Popes, or explore the meticulously-trimmed gardens lined with historical sculptures while enjoying the views of Giardino del Belvedere. The tour will also take you to the Cryptoportico of King Domitian’s palace, where hundreds of people took refuge during WWII.
One can also have a delicious lunch prepared by the staff of Villa Barberini, with produce from the castle grounds itself! The Apostolic Palace has been converted into a museum, where the public can explore the personal quarters where Popes used to live.
Where is Villa Barberini located?
How to get to Villa Barberini?
Take the COTRAL bus from Rome to Appia /Via Mole, which is about a 5 min walk away. You can also alight at Appia /Via Ercolano, (6 mins), Castel Gandolfo | Palazzo Apostolico (9 mins), or at Castel Gandolfo | Stazione FS (13 mins).
Take train FL4 from Ippodromo Delle Capannelle. The journey takes about 67 minutes, and you can alight at Albano Laziale, which is the closest station to Villa Barberini in Castel Gandolfo. The station is located an 8-minute walk away.
History of Villa Barberini
Villa Barberini (also known as the Villa Barberini al Gianicolo) was built on the grounds of the villa of the Roman Emperor Domitian.
In 1597, Castel Gandolfo was purchased by the Savelli Family and in 1604, it became part of the temporal domains of the Papal States, by decree of Pope Clement VIII.
The Apostolic Palace was designed by architect Carlo Maderno at the behest of Pope Urban VIII. At the time, the villa terraced garden was also built. The vast courtyard was a space that the popes enjoyed spending their leisure time at. Pope Pius XI started using the retreat again in 1934.
All Your Questions About Villa Barberini Answered
A. Not all Vatican tickets provide access to Villa Barberini and the Apostolic Palace. You will have to book tickets that specifically provide access to these landmarks.
A. Not all tickets include skip-the-line access. Please check your tour details beforehand.
A. Your Villa Barberini tour includes a portable, multilingual audio guide, allowing you to learn about history, design and papal influence of these landmarks while on the go.
A. The Vatican is strict about visitors adhering to its dress code. Low-cut or sleeveless shirts, shorts and miniskirts are not permitted on the grounds of any institution under the Vatican.
A. The design of these premises includes multiple staircases and long, winding roads. It is therefore not recommended that those with physical disabilities opt for a tour of the grounds.