Castel Gandolfo

Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo

Visit Apostolic Palace & Learn About the Lifestyle of the Pope
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About Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo

Overlooking the scenic Lake Albano, the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo is a breathtaking structure located in Italy. The palace is a part of a huge complex of buildings spread across an area of 135 acres, including lush gardens, a farmhouse, and an observatory. Although the entire site is magnificent to look at, its main attraction is the Apostolic Palace, also known as the Papal Palace of Castel Gandolfo. It was earlier used as the summer retreat of the Pope but was converted into a museum in 2016. Visitors from all over the world now visit this fascinating monument to explore its chambers and gardens, which were formerly inaccessible to the public for decades.

On your trip to Rome and the Vatican City, make sure to visit Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo to get an idea about the lifestyle of the Pope. You may explore the private chambers of the Pope, catch a glimpse at the stunning artworks, relics, and artifacts preserved in the museum and walk around the beautiful gardens.

Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo Highlights

Castel Gandolfo
  • Explore Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo, the former summer retreat of the Pope, the head of the Catholic Church.

  • Get an idea of how Popes lived for over five centuries by visiting over 20 rooms located inside the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo.

  • Marvel at the amazing collection of paintings, relics, and ceremonial robes belonging to several Popes who once resided in the Palace.

  • Witness some off-beat artefacts like the BMW of Pope Wojtyla and the sedan chair of Pope Pius IX.

  • Experience the fascinating Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo history by exploring its rooms, displays, and other sites.

  • Roam around in the magnificent private gardens of the Pope.

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Explore Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo

Castel Gandolfo
The Apostolic Palace

The Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo served as the summer residence of former Popes since the 17th century. Designed by Swiss-Italian architect Carlo Maderno, the Apostolic Palace is grand in size and includes various buildings, including the Papal apartments, catholic offices, and a papal portrait gallery.

The Apostolic Palace was closed to the public until 2016, when Pope Francis chose to relocate the Papal Summer Retreat to the Vatican City Guest House. Since then, the Palace has served as a museum, welcoming visitors from across the world to view papal lodgings and priceless mementos like ceremonial robes and cars of former popes.

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Castel Gandolfo
Villa Barberini Gardens

Villa Barberini is one of the most beautiful private Pope gardens located at Castel Gandolfo. It is a stunning amalgamation of botanical and archaeological aspects featuring hedge mazes, geometric plant beds, and ancient ruins.

The entire garden is made in a traditional Italian garden style and is among the most popular attractions of Castel Gandolfo. Besides its aesthetic beauty, this garden is home to 400 years old oak trees and magnificent historical sculptures. After touring the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo, take out some time and relax in this splendid garden.

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Castel Gandolfo
Belvedere Gardens

The Belvedere Gardens is another must-visit Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo attraction. These gardens, which translate to "beautiful view," were built on the lands of the renowned Emperor Domitian.

While strolling through the Belvedere Gardens, you will notice a variety of plants and vines that cover the king's cryptoporticus. As you pass through the green cover, you will be captivated by the construction of the tunnel, which was built to offer shade for the monarch as he walked through the garden. Later, this tunnel was used to shelter people from the Nazis.

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Castel Gandolfo
Pope's Farm

During your visit to the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo, you can tour the 50-acre Pope’s farm, where everything from eggs to broccoli is produced for the consumption of the Pope. Every day, fresh produce is delivered from here to the Vatican city, including items like artisan cheeses, yoghourts, milk, eggs, vegetables, and so on. A family runs the entire farm, which includes over 1000 olive trees, orchards, and vineyards. Many of the trees on the property date back to the year 1200, making them living history.

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History of Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo

Castel Gandolfo

The 135-acre Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo includes the Papal Palace and gardens, all dating to different periods. While the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo dates back to the 13th century, the spectacular Palace gardens were once occupied by the 1st century Roman Emperor Domitian. As per the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo history, Pope Urban VIII commissioned the Italian architect Carli Moderno to create the palace as his vacation retreat. Since then, successive Popes have spent their summers at the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo. In 1934, the palace was renovated by Pope Pius XI and added Villa Barberini to the site.

The Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo also played an important role during WWII, when it sheltered a large number of Jewish refugees. The Apostolic Palace, which had served as the Papal vacation getaway for almost 500 years, was converted into a museum in 2016 when Pope Francis chose the Vatican guest house as his summer residence. Today, it welcomes tourists from all around the world, giving them a glimpse into the private lives of former Popes.

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Plan Your Visit to the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo

Opening Hours
How to reach
Rules & Regulations

  • You can visit the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo from 8.30 AM until 2 PM between Monday and Friday (last entry is at 1 PM).

  • On Saturday, the Palace is open to visitors from 8.30 AM to 5.30 PM (last entry is at 4.30 PM).

  • The Apostolic Palace remains closed on Sundays.

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FAQs

What is inside the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo?

Visit Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo to see the private chambers, summer office, and the art and artefact collection of former Popes. While you explore Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo, you can also tour the private gardens and Pope’s Farm.

Who lives at the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo?

According to Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo history, several popes, including Pope Urban VIII, Pope Pius XI, Pope Pius XII, and Pope Paul VI, resided here during summers.

Can visitors go inside the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo?

Yes, you can visit Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo and tour its several rooms, as the Palace was opened to the public in 2016.

What are Apostolic Palace opening hours?

You can explore Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo between 8.30 AM and 2 PM from Monday to Friday and between 8.30 AM and 5.30 PM on Saturday.

What should I wear to the Apostolic Palace?

While visiting the Apostolic Palace, you must dress appropriately. Please note sleeveless, low-cut garments, mini-skirts, and shorts are prohibited at the site.

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