Vatican Museums, Gardens & Castel Gandolfo Day Trip

Travel to the Pope's summer home from the Vatican and enjoy a plentiful lunch

Few Vatican tours actually visit the beautiful Vatican Gardens. On this tour, visit the gorgeous Vatican property and travel to Castel Gandolfo without hassle.


This is a walking tour and involves walking through gardens and grounds as well as occasionally up and down stairs

11 h
max 15
from 8 reviews
1 Vatican Museums Tour
2 Sistine Chapel
3 Vatican Gardens
4 A Relaxing Train Ride
5 Castel Gandolfo Gardens
6 A Miniature Colosseum
7 A Secret Tunnel for the Pope
8 Lunch! eat like the Pope
9 The First Post Office in the World
10 The Pope's Summer Residence
11 The Pope's Costumes
12 Papal Pinacoteca
13 Palace Audience Rooms
14 Pope's Personal Office
15 The Pope's Bedroom
16 Return Home on the Train


Food & Wine
Pre-Opening Entrance
Sistine Chapel
Primary Galleries
Raphael Rooms
Borgia Apartments
Pio Clementino
Pope's Summer House
Vatican Gardens
Have you ever wondered what the Pope's life is really like? Most tourists visit the Vatican Museums, but why not take a step further? Join us on a day trip from Rome to the Pope’s summer residence in the gorgeous hilltop town of Castel Gandolfo. This exclusive day trip from Rome not only covers the highlights of the Vatican Museums, but also the Vatican Gardens, Barberini Gardens, and the Pope's summer residence. This ultimate Vatican full-day experience includes:
  • - An early access, skip the line Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel tour
  • - Delicious local lunch
  • - Round trip train tickets to Castel Gandolfo
  • - An English-speaking guide with expertise in art history
  • - Tickets to the Pope’s summer residence


Skip the Line Vatican Tour 

Your day begins early in the morning, as you meet your guide in front of the Vatican Museums. After you make introductions with your small group, skip the regular line and enter the Vatican Museums forty-five minutes before the general public is allowed inside. As an accredited tour operator, we do not have to wait in the long ticket line, but we still have to wait in a much shorter security line. Short delays at the security check may occur during the busiest months, June and July. However, our team of experts works to prevent delays as much as possible.

The Vatican Museum's Best Galleries

On the way to the Sistine Chapel, visit the most beautiful galleries of the Vatican Museums: the Gallery of the Candelabra, Gallery of the Tapestries and our personal favorite, the Gallery of the Maps. Predating unified Italy by almost 300 years, the frescoes reveal the Italian peninsula's geography circa 1580. Painted between 1580 to 1585, the maps are based on drawings by famous geographer Ignazio Danti.

Visit the Incredible Sistine Chapel

Since it is part of the Vatican Tour, Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel is included in your tickets. It is here that Michelangelo toiled for four years on his back painting these world-famous and inspiring frescoes. Only when you enter the Sistine Chapel is it clear how high the ceiling is and how many frescos there are. And because our guides are experts in art history, you will learn about the fascinating stories and characters hidden in the art by Michelangelo.

The Sistine Chapel is a place of worship, therefore, speaking inside is not allowed. Since our guide cannot explain the frescoes while you are inside, we explain the Chapel in advance and provide you with a map/handout for reference before you enter. Men and women must cover their knees and shoulders before entering. We understand the summers in Rome get hot, a good alternative is to bring a scarf or shawl to cover up with before you enter.

An Exclusive Stroll in the Vatican Gardens 

Only special tour groups are allowed to visit the Vatican Gardens. This full-day tour to Castel Gandolfo includes in-demand Vatican Gardens tickets. Breathe in the fresh air and enjoy this oasis of peace and tranquility smack dab in the busy city of Rome. Take a stroll with your licensed Vatican guide and pass innumerable grottoes, antiquities and world-class landscaping. Did you know there are 100 fountains in the Vatican Gardens? The Vatican Gardens are never crowded  - very few visitors are allowed inside. Prepare yourself for some incredible views of St. Peter's Basilica. Your Vatican Gardens tour ends as you reach Stazione di Città del Vaticano, Vatican City's only train station.

Vatican City to Castel Gandolfo Train

Only special guests of the Vatican are permitted to board the train that departs from Stazione di Città del Vaticano. Today, that's you! After touring the Vatican Gardens, climb aboard the train that departs straight from Vatican City for a relaxing and scenic ride through the green Castelli Romani hills. After a busy morning, this is an excellent opportunity to rest and recharge for the second portion of the day's activities. After an hour, your train arrives at the Castel Gandolfo Train Station. From here, board a bus that takes you up the hill to the Barberini Gardens and the Pope's summer residence (the Apostolic Palace) 

Barberini Gardens at Castel Gandolfo 

Now it's time to experience the enchanting Barberini Gardens from a bus and by foot. Built over the ruins of Emperor Domitian’s Villa, the gardens are now open to the public as a gesture of goodwill by Pope Francis. These unbelievable gardens are filled with carefully tended hedges, fountains, flowers and ancient Roman ruins. Stop to view specific points of interest in the gardens, and hear stories from your guide about the history of your lush surroundings. Walk inside the ruins of a Roman Amphitheatre that dates back to the 1st century. The Barberini Garden experience cannot be adequately described - you must experience it firsthand to understand just how exquisite it is

A Feast Fit for the Pope Himself

Are you hungry yet? It's time for a buffet lunch comprised of organic cheeses, meats, bruschetta with olive oil and fresh tomatoes, and pasta locally-sourced from the surrounding land. These delicious foods are fit for the Pope himself, so you know everything is top-quality. If you want, you can also purchase some of these exclusive organic food items to take home to enjoy later. 

Explore the Pope's Summer Residence

With a full belly, you are now free to explore the picturesque town of Castel Gandolfo, situated at the top of the hill that overlooks the pristine Lake Albano. There are shops, restaurants, art galleries, bars and cafes to shop and relax in. This is also your opportunity to take a self-guided tour of the Pope's summer residence, which is now a museum. Wander in and out of rooms that include the Pope's office, bedroom and numerous galleries of artifacts related to the Vatican. There is even a collection of cars driven by former popes in the courtyard. When you've finished taking in the splendor of Castel Gandolfo, board a bus back down to the train station and cruise on home to the San Pietro Train Station in Rome.