A little of history of the Vatican Gardens
The Vatican Gardens date back to medieval times when orchards and vineyards extended north of the Papal Apostolic Palace. Pope Nicholas III in 1279 moved his residence to the Vatican from the Lateran Palace, closing this area with walls. He created an orchard, a meadow and a garden.
At the beginning of the 16th century, during the papacy of Julius II, a remodeling of the landscape was carried out and under the original design of Donato Bramante was divided into three new courtyards: the Cortile del Belvedere, the Library Courtyard and the Cortile della Pigna with the landscape design of the Renaissance. Also in Renaissance style a rectangular labyrinth was created made in boxwood (shrubs and small evergreen trees) and framed with pinewood and Lebanon cedar. In the place where Nicholas III built a wall, Bramante built a great defensive rectilinear wall.
The Vatican Gardens of today have numerous fountains, sculptures and artificial caves, generally dedicated to the Virgin Mary and other saints.
What are the Vatican Gardens nowadays?
The Vatican Gardens are a natural, architectural and artistic space of great beauty and spirituality, boasting an area of 23 hectares occupying most of the Vatican Hill. In addition, here we can find several medieval fortifications, buildings and monuments of the Renaissance and the Baroque, with gardens, parks, orchard and a wooded area of 3 hectares.
Currently, the Vatican Gardens are a complex landscape of forests, medieval monuments, sculptures and floral extensions. It is possible to travel through these lush gardens only in the company of an official accredited guide. In this unique tour you can visit the most emblematic points such as the Giardino Quadrato, the Casio Pius IV, the Fontana dell'Aquilone, the Grotta di Lourdes, the monument to the assassination attempt of John Paul II, the building of the Vatican Radio and many others.
This visit offers you a unique opportunity to know the daily life of the Vatican State, here you will see as the administrative, maintenance and security personnel in their day to day work. At the end of this tour, you can visit the Vatican Museums and tour them on your own.
Curiosities of the Vatican Gardens
Did you know that the tour of the Vatican Gardens starts at the Vatican State Railway Station? Pope Francis decided to extend the itineraries and visits in 2015 to visit the Pontifical Villas of Castel Gandolfo, reopening in this way the old train station, which runs from the Vatican through Castel Gandolfo to Albano Laziale. For the first time in history, visitors can visit the Apostolic Palace.
Did you know that the Square and the St. Peter's Basilica receive more than 18 million pilgrims each year? Some of them come moved by faith and many others to admire the extensive artistic wealth accumulated for centuries by the popes.
Why visit the Vatican Gardens?
Walking through the different and tranquil paths of the Vatican Gardens, we can see the different gardens in three different styles, Italian, English and French, each with their respective characteristics. The Italian-style garden has a very formal and geometrical feature, and features of the Renaissance. The French garden distinguishes its great expression in the classic baroque art, enriched with statues and water games. The English garden has great geometric features with natural and artificial elements such as caves, streams, trees, shrubs, pagodas, pergolas, temples and ruins.
How to visit the Vatican Gardens?
The Vatican Gardens can only be visited in the company of the internal staff of the Museums, so it is necessary to book a guided tour. However, there are two possible alternatives: in the first option, the visit is carried out by a guide, while in the second option, the visit takes place on board an open bus and with the support of an audio guide.
Other attractions in the area
All visitors to Rome book at least one day to visit the Vatican, the smallest sovereign country in the world that gathers two thousand years of history and art. It has 44 hectares and its official language is Latin. Here you will find the famous Saint Peter's Square (Piazza San Pietro) and the St. Peter's Basilica (Basilica di San Pietro) where you can enjoy the work of some of the greatest artists of the Renaissance and Baroque, as the imposing colonnade that embraces the square created by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, author also of much of the interior decoration of the basilica. You can admire the monumental facade of the basilica, the work of Carlo Maderno and the immense dome, visible from almost all of Rome, the work of the genius of Michelangelo Buonarroti.