Castel Gandolfo is a small town 25 km southeast of Rome and known for the papal summer residence (Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo).
Info & Tickets Castel Gandolfo (Papal Palace)
|Transport||From Rome, Castel Gandolfo is easy to reach by train (book your train tickets via Trenitalia.com). From Termini central station, take the train to ‘Albano Laziale’, where you can get off after 40 minutes at ‘Castel Gandolfo’ station. From the train station you then have to walk for 15 minutes towards Piazza della Liberta (this is a steep walk uphill). It's also possible to book this tour from Rome.|
|Tickets||Attention: You can only visit the Papal Palace with an audio-guided tour, which is recommended to be booked in advance. You can choose from two types of tickets:
Papal Palace 'Castel Gandolfo'
Just 25 kilometers southeast of Rome and easy to reach by train is the small town of Castel Gandolfo. The town with just more than 8,000 inhabitants, which is located on the green Alban Hills, is mainly known for the papal summer residence. The palace is a so-called exclave of the Vatican City. The complex contains the Apostolic Palace, the Villa Cybo, the Villa Barberini and even a small farm.
The Vatican acquired the Castel Gandolfo castle in 1596 as a payment for a debt owed by the Savelli family. The palace was then built in the 17th century at the behest of Pope Urban VIII and was designed by the architect Carlo Maderno. Since then, the palace has been used by many popes as a summer residence and has a beautiful view over the lake of Lago Albano (a volcanic crater lake).
According to archaeologists' research, Castel Gandolfo is located exactly where 'Alba Longa' used to be. This was a city in ancient Latium, which often was in fight with Rome. In the Barberini Gardens of the palace, for example, you can still find remains of a villa of the Roman Emperor Domitian. These 30 hectares of gardens are now a place to stroll among the fountains and statues, enjoy the green surroundings or admire the beautiful view over the lake from the terrace.
Visit the Papal Palace?
Only a few years ago, Pope Francis (he never uses the summer palace himself) has opened the villa and gardens of Castel Gandolfo to the public. The palace is now a museum and you can take tours of the palace (including the apartments, the papal portrait gallery and even the private bedroom), the adjacent gardens and admire several pope mobiles. It is a unique opportunity to visit the summer palace, because with a future pope it will be uncertain whether Castel Gandolfo will remain open to the public. Attention: It is only possible to visit the palace after you have made a reservation for the tour.