Visiting The Vatican Gardens - Enjoy This Exclusive Visit!
Vatican Gardens are some of the most beautiful most exclusive gardens in Rome.
To visit them, you need to plan ahead. Here's how.
You can only get views like this of St. Peter's dome from the gardens of Vatican city. It's even better in person, trust me!
The Vatican Gardens - Everything You Need to Know
If you're wondering whether you should try to fit in a visit to the Vatican Gardens, or are even wondering what they are, let me tell you - they are so worth visiting!
It's never crowded, as they only accept a few reservations every day they are open.
And be prepared for views of
Saint Peter's Basilica unlike any other.
To visit the gardens at the Vatican, here's what you need to know:
What's included in a visit to the gardens at the Vatican
Gardens, Fountains, Views, Sacred Sites
I think one of my favorite places in the gardens is this sweet fountain...
and I love the turtles who live in the fountain and come over for a hello!
On your visit to these gardens, you will see beautifully curated mini-gardens . . .
I am always charmed by this sweet cactus garden, so well-curated, at the Vatican Gardens
This olive tree is part of a small curated tree collection in the gardens at the Vatican
The papyrus is just one of the curious plants in the Vatican gardens
. . . fountains and sculptures . . .
This soothing fountain is just one beautiful thing you'll see in the gardens here
Everywhere you look while you stroll through these gardens is a feast for the senses
. . . a harmonious balance of trees, bushes, and flowers along delightful shaded walkways . . .
This bucolic walkway feels so special and hushed...it's hard to believe there is so much hustle and bustle in the rest of Vatican City just below.
. . . stunning views of
St. Peter's dome from almost every angle . . .
St Peter's dome is always awe-inspiring. From these gardens, you will see it from so many different angles, and up so close!
. . . and important holy sites, such as the
Grotta di Lourdes, a replica of the Lourdes Grotto in France.
This replica of the Lourdes Grotto in France is one of so many special holy things you will see in the gardens at the Vatican
Brief History of Vatican City eBook The history of the Vatican stretches back thousands of years, and to know everything about this incredible micro-state would take a lifetime to learn.
With this eBook, discover the brief history of Vatican City - where it got its name, who built the basilica, where the Popes are buried and more!
Topics covered include:
Details about the Vatican's origin, going back to the time of Ancient Rome The role important artists such as Michelangelo played in the creation of the Vatican as we know it today How the Vatican came to be an independent city state within the boundaries of Rome What else is included in this Brief History of Vatican City e-book?
50+ pages of information covering all areas of the Vatican's history Dozens of stunning and original photos showcasing the Vatican Insightful diagrams and drawings to help illustrate the more detailed elements of the Vatican's history + much more! Vatican Museums
When you book your walking or bus tour of the Vatican Gardens, your ticket will allow you
, which includes the entry to the Vatican Museums Sistine Chapel.
(It does not include a guided tour of the museums, though.)
Not only do you get to visit the exquisite gardens at the Vatican but you also get skip-the-line access to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel! This is one fantastic way to skip the line at the Vatican Museums. You not only get exclusive entry with no waiting, but you will have seen the special gardens that most visitors never get to see.
Included in your ticket to the gardens is skip-the line entry to the Vatican Museums, seen here.
Some very important things to note about your Vatican Gardens ticket and entry to the Vatican Museums:
The Vatican Gardens visit includes a tour, but when you enter the Vatican Museums, there is no tour included for the Museums. So if you want a tour of the Museums also, your choices are to a) get the audioguide for the museums (must be purchased separately and can be purchased on site), b) book a ticket that includes a guided tour of both the gardens and the museums . I get asked this all the time, so here is the definitive answer: Once you visit the Vatican Gardens, you then have to go right into the Vatican Museums. You cannot leave and have lunch and come back. Think of the gardens and the museums as being one entity. There is no re-entry. (There are places to eat inside the Vatican Museums.) The Vatican Gardens tours are always in the morning/late morning. So your visit to the Vatican Museums will be sometime around noon/1pm. If you want to visit the Vatican Museums right when they open at 8AM, or, later in the day, you will need to purchase separate tickets to the Vatican Museums and the Vatican Gardens. It is not possible to wander around the gardens on your own. You must be either on the bus tour or with a guide on a walking tour.
Saint Peter's Basilica
When you book a tour of the Vatican Gardens, it comes with
tickets to the Vatican Museums. There has been some back and forth recently about whether the shortcut is available or not, but for now, it is once again the case that you can only take the shortcut from the Sistine Chapel to St Peter's Basilica if you are on a tour that INCLUDES the basilica. As of now, you cannot do this . unless you are on a tour
So that is an added bonus if your are on a tour that includes the Basilica.
After your visit to the gardens at the Vatican, you have skip-the-line access to the Vatican Museums. And if you take the shortcut to Saint Peter's Basilica, you will skip that (security) line also!
What's the difference between the gardens at the Vatican and the garden at the Pope's summer residence?
There are actually two "Vatican Gardens."
The gardens right behind
St. Peter's Basilica, are the most famous and most popular.
There are also the gardens at the
Papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, just half hour outside Rome.
There, you can visit the
Pontifical Palace, and see the pope's private Barberini gardens, which were opened to the public only in 2014 by Pope Francis.
The Pope's Barberini gardens at Castel Gandolfo, also worth a visit!
You can visit either of the gardens, right at the Vatican, or at Castel Gandolfo, or, you can see them both in one day. This fantastic full-day tour takes you to the Vatican Museums + Sistine Chapel, then the Gardens in Rome, and then to Castel Gandolfo where you will enjoy a delicious lunch.* *Please note you do not have a guide with you on the train to and from Castel Gandolfo.
The perfect 3-day itinerary in Rome
Trying to figure out how to organize your visit to Rome? I've got the perfect 3-day itinerary for first-time visitors (or those who have not been here in a while.) It works for a 2.5 day visit as well.
In my 3-day itinerary, you'll see
all the major must-see Rome attractions like the Vatican, Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Spanish Steps, Castel Sant'Angelo, and much more.
And if you have more time, or want suggestions for extra/other things to do, you'll find that there too.
Visit my page with the best 3-day itinerary in Rome for first-timers.
How long does it take to tour the gardens at the Vatican?
A visit to the Vatican Gardens can take 2-3 hours or a full day, depending on how you choose to visit:
When you climb the dome to St. Peter's basilica, you can see the gardens below. They are vast, taking up about more than half of the city-state! Walking Tour of the Vatican Gardens
The guided walking tour of the gardens alone will take 1.5 hours.
Then, your ticket allows entry to the
Vatican Museums, where you will visit on your own.
Normally this visit takes around 2 hours.
If you book the Gardens + Museums combo guided tour, they say it takes 3 hours, which means they go at a fairly steady pace.
If you plan to visit
St. Peter's Basilica, add at least an hour + the time to get to the basilica and wait in line. Bus Tour of the Vatican Gardens
The bus tour of the gardens is 45 minutes.
It does not stop and you cannot get off.
This is a shorter tour, but can be
ideal for anyone with walking issues.
Then, add the option of the Vatican Museums (about 2 hours) so count on at least 3 hours.
Book your Vatican Gardens bus tour here.
You are not obliged to go through the Vatican Museums or to visit Saint Peter's Basilica.
If you have limited time, and/or have already visited those sites, you may simply leave after your garden tour.
All Day tour including the Papal Gardens at Castel Gandolfo
If you choose to include a visit to the
Papal Gardens at Castel Gandolfo, it is an all day visit beginning at the Vatican at 8am, and ending back at the Vatican at about 6pm.
Train between Vatican and Papal residence at Castel Gandolfo. Photo credit: vatican.va
The Barberini gardens at the Papal residence at Castel Gandolfo. VIDEO
How to plan all your Vatican visits
When you book a visit to the Vatican Gardens, you will automatically get entry to the
So plan for at least a 3-4 hour visit.
If you want to also visit Saint Peter's Basilica on the same day, you can either go at 7 AM when it opens, or after your museums tour, probably after a short lunch break.
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Saint Peter's Square at 7 am. This is a great time to visit the basilica any time. And it's also a good time to visit it if you have a visit to the Vatican Gardens booked later that morning.
If you visit the Basilica in the morning, you could then have the other half the day to do other things (although you will likely be tired as that is a lot of activity for one morning!)
If you visit the Basilica after your Vatican Museums visit, this will likely take up the rest of your day.
Visiting the basilica can take maybe an hour.
Saint Peter's Basilica, you can (for a fee) and/or visit the grottos just below the altar where many popes are entombed (free.) climb the dome Plan for yet another hour. Just make sure to climb the dome before it closes, which is about an hour earlier than the basilica itself.
Do you want to also know how to fit in a visit to the
Vatican necropolis (St. Peter's tomb), and/or the Papal Audience?
Visit my page about this. How to book a visit to the Vatican Gardens
Opening Days/hours of the Vatican Gardens
The Vatican gardens are open Monday - Saturday.
They are closed Sundays and on Catholic holidays, and/or
when the pope conducts mass at St. Peter's basilica, including December 8, 25 and 26, January 1 and 6, Easter Sunday, and more.
To see all closing dates for a given year, check the
. Vatican Museums calendar online
Although the gardens are open the same dates as the museums,
visiting hours are restricted to mid-late mornings. Walking tours are not available on Wednesdays when there is a Papal audience. Bus tours are.
You can book a walking tour that begins at
9:30 or 11am. You can book a bus tour that begins somewhere from 8:15 am to 12:45 pm (last departure.) The all-day tour that includes a train visit to Castel Gandolfo must be booked for an early start at 8am.
The tours are available in different languages but the most commonly offered is in English.
If you choose another language, you may find limited availability.
Book on the Vatican Website
You can easily book a tour of the Vatican Gardens on the official
. Vatican website
Vatican Gardens", which takes you to the page with all the options.
There you can select different garden tours.
Costs vary depending on the type of tour you book.
Book through an Authorized vendor
If you have trouble with the Vatican website, or don't find availability there, you might want to try booking the same ticket through the
. authorized vendor Tiqets
There is a small booking fee but the ease of use makes up for it.
Also you may find more availability through Tiqets.
Book a Tour
Whether you book a walking or bus tour of the Vatican Gardens, your ticket allows you entry into the
Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel.
When you book the Vatican Gardens, you will either have a human guide on the walking tour, or an audio-guide on the bus tour. After that however, you will not have a guide for the Vatican Museums , just entry.
Taking a small group tour of the Vatican Museums can make your visit go so much more smoothly! So if you would like a guide (which I highly recommend), you can book a tour that includes a guided tour of the Vatican Museums.
In my opinion it is a much better way to visit the Vatican Museums, and makes for a smoother and less tiring day.
You cannot visit the Vatican Gardens without booking a tour.
If you take the shorter bus tour, there is just an audio-guide and not a human.
However, you are not allowed to get off the bus.
Options to see the gardens for people in wheelchairs
Yes it's possible for those with
mobility problems or who are in a wheelchair to visit these wonderful gardens.
A visitor in a wheelchair enjoying the beautiful gardens at the Vatican. Photo credit: Vatican.va However, there is no regularly scheduled tour. You need to write to the Vatican and ask for a time slot and guide. Visitors in wheelchairs may of course be accompanied on the tour by their companions and/or care-givers.
Visit the official Vatican website for more details and how to book. Bathrooms inside the Vatican Gardens
there are bathrooms in more than one spot inside the Vatican Gardens.
They are quite discretely hidden, so just ask your guide where to find them.
The bathrooms inside the Vatican Gardens are not handicapped-equipped.
Using the Omnia Pass
is a great combo pass that gives you access to the Vatican Museums, Saint Peter's basilica, Omnia Pass San Giovanni and many Rome sites such as the Colosseum, Galleria Borghese and much more.
The Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel are free when you buy the Omnia Pass, but the Vatican Gardens are not included
the gardens at the Vatican are not included.
If you want to visit the Vatican Gardens, I'd suggest booking them separately (which includes the Vatican Museums), and then purchasing the
, which has nothing to do with Vatican sites. Roma Pass
Or try the Turbo Pass which does include the Vatican Gardens.
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