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Pontifical Villas of Castel Gandolfo

1,000 Reviews

Pontifical Villas of Castel Gandolfo

1,000 Reviews
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00040 Castel Gandolfo Italy
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Beautiful day trip to Castelli Romani
Half-day Tours

Beautiful day trip to Castelli Romani

6 reviews
This day trip to Castelli Romani is a perfect escape from the hustle of Rome. Enjoy a relaxed and authentic trip to the countryside, where you’ll see beautiful lakes and villages, taste delicious local food, and take some gentle walks. As this is a private tour you can go at your own pace and customize the itinerary to suit your needs and interests.
USD 101.38 per adult
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Sharon H wrote a review Mar. 2020
Las Vegas, Nevada2,071 contributions251 helpful votes
+1
Castel Gandolfo was declared property of the Holy See in the 13th century, but the castle was not built until the 17th century when other villas and cottages were being built in this area. It was renovated by Pope Pius XI in 1929 and has been used as the pope’s summer residence since them. During WWII 40 babies were born in the bedroom here, to mothers trying to escape the Nazis. Pope John Paul recovered from his injuries here when he was shot in 1980. The current Pope Francis declared that it should be open to the public since he preferred to stay in Rome and work. As we entered the gates of the Apostolic Palace, we passed the small fleet of Mercedes cars used by the Pope and the “Popemobile” with the bulletproof shell. Continuing, we made our way through display rooms showing the costumes of the Swiss Guards, the portable throne used to carry the pope in processions, and other items used by the pope. Next came galleries with portraits of all the popes, followed by a lovely cream, yellow, and gold waiting room where guests who had an audience with the pope were taken first. From there, we went through a series of waiting rooms (ante-rooms). A group of people might be granted an audience, but ultimately only one would actually see the pope. The others in the group would go as far as their “status/permission” allowed them and would wait in their assigned ante-room. The last ante-room was normally reserved for the wife of the man who had the audience. Finally came the magnificent throne room where the pope received the person granted an audience. Following that, all rooms were private. The general public was not allowed—only his private secretaries. A series of offices came next—some with elaborate desks and bookshelves and others with much simpler furniture. Then the pope’s bedroom, which was a bright and airy corner room with creamy yellow walls and mint-green drapes on four large windows. The furniture—a large bed, wardrobe, desk, and table with chairs—was made of beautifully carved wood and looked comfortable and lived-in. The bedroom opened onto a lovely little chapel with an altar and the pope’s own chair and kneeler. Following the chapel was a large gallery which led us back to the square outside. We really enjoyed being able to see this historic place. We have been to Italy on many previous occasions, but Castel Gandolfo was never open to the public before—and could be closed again, at the discretion of the pope. Don’t pass up the opportunity to see it if you can!
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Date of experience: May 2019
1 Helpful vote
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Fleur wrote a review Feb. 2020
Rome, Italy12 contributions24 helpful votes
I loved the gardens of the Pope's summer residence. I even visited it when it wasn't accessible for the public yet. It's a real hidden paradise for garden lovers.
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Date of experience: June 2019
2 Helpful votes
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Venus234 wrote a review Nov. 2019
32 contributions10 helpful votes
After having visited Vatican museums and Borghese gallery in Rome, the pontifical villas of Castel Gandolfo, a.k.a., Pope's summer residence, failed to impress me. It is not very grand, be it from architectural point of view or decoration and interior. I found it rather plain and basic, even the exhibits were of little interest to me. As far as the ticket is concerned, you need to buy a separate ticket for the gardens and for the pontifical villas. I skipped the gardens for lack of time. The villa was moderately crowded with tourists. The vending machine placed right beyond the ticket counter was a disappointment for despite multiple tries and even after help of the guards/staff available at the location, I failed to get a drink out of it. It was dysfunctional. I missed the gardens because I was on a day trip from Rome. I reached Castel Gandolfo around 11 and planned to return after lunch. so i only had enough time to tour the insides of the pontifical villas. I will also be posting a review about the town castel gandolfo, which i enjoyed a lot. I cherish my visit to this town, despite the pontifical villas being less than impressive.
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Date of experience: July 2019
1 Helpful vote
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sakkara11 wrote a review Nov. 2019
Cairo, Egypt589 contributions241 helpful votes
+1
Driving with an open bus for 50 minutes is really worth the 20 Euros. You drive, where for 300 years the Popes found some rest. Typical Italian Garden of the 18th century onwards! I loved it very much!!
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Date of experience: November 2019
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cruiserWarrington wrote a review Oct. 2019
Warrington24 contributions21 helpful votes
We visited on an excursion from a cruise ship, so it was a 2 hour bus journey to get there. When we went into the palace, there was a huge row (in Italian, which we do not speak) between our guides and the security guards. We were then rushed round the palace in well under an hour. The guide was typically describing a room which I had not yet aarrived at, because she was moving very fast and the rooms were sometimes very small. These were supposedly the private apartments but we never saw anything practical, like an arm-chair. I learnt nothing. The gardens were pleasant and the lunch nothing special. We were then left in the tiny town for over an hour - less time than in the apartments. Not worth $249!!!!
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Date of experience: October 2019
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