Opened to the public in 2014 for the very first time in its 389-year history, the Papal Estate of Castel Gandolfo, is a sanctuary of peace, tranquillity and serenity.
Departing from Civitavecchia, you’ll begin your adventure back in time as you travel to the ancient town of Castel Gandolfo, believed to date back 37 centuries. In the early 12th century, the area became the property of the Gandolfi family who built a palace atop the 1st century ruins of Roman Emperor Domitian’s grand villa. It became the official Papal summer residence in 1626 when Pope Urban VIII first stayed here.
Upon arrival at the Pontifical Villas, you’ll board a trolley train for an orientation of this majestic estate. Meander around the picturesque gardens dressed in spectacular blooms and edged with towering cypress trees. Take in a visit to the Roman Amphitheatre and marvel at the cloud-shaped crowns of umbrella pines and the blue-green of age-old cedars, before moving on to the farmhouse. Covering 61 acres the farmhouse supplies olive oil, wine and fresh milk for the Vatican State’s residents.
At the end of your amazing tour, you’ll walk to the village of Castel Gandolfo for some lunch and some shopping on your own. As you steadily climb up the hill to the Papal Palace, you’ll have a bird’s-eye view of Lake Albano, a small volcanic crater lake resting at the foot of Monte Cavo.
Afterwards, rejoin your coach and travel back to Rome, passing by landmarks such as Venice Square and the Colosseum.
At the Vatican Museum, you’ll leave your coach for a guided tour of its rich collections before visiting the Sistine Chapel. Gaze up at the renowned ceiling and be mesmerised by Michelangelo's spectacular artwork. Last on your itinerary is a brief sojourn to St Peter's Basilica, where there will be the chance to purchase religious articles.
When it's time to call it a day, you'll travel back to your ship.
This tour operates by coach and on foot. The transfer to Castel Gandolfo is approximately 1¾ hours. There is extensive walking over cobblestoned surfaces as well as negotiating 250 steps while visiting the Vatican Museum and St Peter’s Basilica. All visitors must clear security (metal detectors) at the Vatican Museum and St Peter's Basilica. Large items (bags, rucksacks, bulky coats) cannot be taken inside Vatican Museum. Flash photography is not permitted in the Vatican Museum, and no photographs and videoing is permitted in the Sistine Chapel. Entrance inside St Peter's Basilica may not be permitted if a special event or mass service is being held. The Basilica may be close without prior notice due to security reasons. The order of the tour may be reversed or altered depending on traffic conditions. This tour does not operate on Sundays or religious holidays. .