The Vatican Museums, the Colosseum, the Sistine Chapel – these are no doubt just some of the things that spring to mind when you hear the phrase “trip to Rome.” But did you know that over half of Vatican City is actually consumed by the Vatican Gardens, a lush, green landscape full of history, landmarks, and the beauty of nature? If you come to Rome with a pre-booked Vatican tour, you’ll be able to access and explore the Vatican gardens at your leisure – but what are they, and what can you expect? Let’s take a look.
What are the Vatican Gardens?
The Vatican Gardens are an expansive oasis of lush greenery, striking architecture, and historical artifacts nestled within the heart of the Vatican City – and did you know that in spanning an impressive 57 acres, these gardens cover more than half of the entire Vatican City’s land?
Dating back to medieval times, the Vatican Gardens are a stunning testament to the artistry and skill of the many generations that have contributed to its development, and despite their historical significance, are often overshadowed by the city’s other attractions, such as the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica.
However, for those in search of a unique and serene experience, the Vatican Gardens offer a delightful escape and a fascinating insight into Vatican history and culture – so why should you take a tour? Let’s take a look.
What can you expect to see at the Vatican Gardens?
So, why opt for tours in Vatican City that include a walk around the secretive Vatican Gardens? Here are just a few spots that you can enjoy with your guide:
Marian gardens and Lourdes’ grotto
One of the most interesting areas of the Vatican Gardens is the collection of Marian gardens, which are dedicated to the Virgin Mary. These gardens are filled with vibrant flowers and tranquil spaces for contemplation, and you’ll also find the Lourdes’ grotto, a replica of the original grotto in France where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to Saint Bernadette. This sacred space is a popular destination for pilgrims and visitors seeking a moment of peace and reflection, but also simply another beautiful part of the Vatican to explore if you get the chance.
Torre di San Giovanni
The Torre di San Giovanni, or Tower of St. John, is a medieval tower that offers a fascinating look into the gardens’ early development. Once used as a papal residence, the tower is now surrounded by greenery and offers stunning views of the Vatican gardens, as well as the rest of the small country.
The Berlin Wall
A surprising element within the Vatican Gardens is a section of the Berlin Wall, a historical symbol of the division between East and West Germany during the Cold War. After the wall fell in 1989, a portion of it was gifted to Pope John Paul II in gratitude for his support of the reunification of Germany. Today, you can view this striking artifact within the gardens, serving as a powerful reminder of the global impact of the Vatican and its role in promoting peace and unity.
Heliport and train station
Within the Vatican Gardens, you can also find the Vatican Heliport and the Vatican City train station, which are actually essential parts of the Vatican’s transportation infrastructure. The heliport is used for papal travel and visiting dignitaries, while the train station connects the Vatican to Italy’s railway network. These modern facilities offer a unique contrast to the gardens’ historical and natural elements, serving as another example of the Vatican’s integration of contemporary technology with traditional, historically-preserved designs.
The Italian garden
The Italian garden is another beautiful space within the Vatican Gardens, where you can find a bit of calm and serenity amongst the pine trees, cypresses and overwhelming calm of the outdoor space. You can also spot the Italian Garden from the top of the Dome – keep on the lookout for its symmetrical designs!
Why take a private tour
As we already mentioned, you can only visit the Vatican Gardens with a pre-booked guided tour, but why opt for crowded group tours? Instead, indulge in a private guided and tour and enjoy the following benefits:
By opting for a private tour, you can avoid the large crowds that often accompany group excursions. With fewer tourists to navigate through, you’ll have more time to take in the breathtaking sights and sounds of the Vatican Gardens and other attractions.
More intimate experience
Another benefit of a private tour is that it offers a more intimate experience, allowing you to connect with your tour guide and receive a tailor-made experience catered to your interests. This personalized approach means you’ll have the opportunity to delve deeper into the areas that most captivate you and ask unlimited questions, whether they be about the beautiful Marian gardens, the fascinating history of the Torre di San Giovanni, or the tranquil Italian garden.
One of the most significant advantages of taking a private Vatican tour is the ability to skip the long queues that often form at popular attractions such as the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel. With your private tour guide, you’ll enjoy faster access to these iconic sites, saving you valuable time and allowing you to make the most of your visit to the Vatican City.