Vatican City is beautiful and mysterious at the same time. It was founded in the year 1929 but has a history lingering with power and beauty. The St Peter’s Basilica is one of the most beautiful and the biggest churches in the world. Sistine Chapel’s ceilings have forever captured the essence of religious glory. While these may be overwhelming, there is a place inside the Vatican to calm you down. The Gardens of Vatican City cover more than half of the Vatican (57 Acres) with Statues, impressive fountains, and buildings dating back to the 6th century. While in Rome, Vatican City is a country you must visit, and here are the important information and reasons to check out the Vatican Gardens.
Vatican Gardens in a Nutshell
Must-See at the Vatican Gardens
- Bramante’s Belvedere Courtyard
- The Fountains
- The Animals of the Vatican Gardens
- Berlin Wall
- Thursday- Saturday: 9 AM - 6 PM
- Monday - Tuesday: 9 AM - 6 PM
- Wednesdays and Sundays: Closed
Why you should visit the Vatican Gardens
Located in the west of Vatican City, the Vatican Gardens are the urban gardens of the Pope with Renaissance and Baroque style structures. The Garden is bound by stone walls in the north, south, and west. Although the gardens were originally established in 1929, they were not open to the public until 2014.
The origin of the gardens dates back to the medieval period when orchards and vineyards covered the hills of Sant'Egidio to the north of the Papal Apostolic Palace. The site underwent major redesigning in the 16th century under Pope Julius Ⅱ. Donato Bramante had originally designed the courtyards for the Pope and has one of the magnificent courtyards named after him today. Today, these manoeuvres have come together to form the Vatican Gardens full of historic fortifications, vibrant flower beds, vivid topiaries, verdant lawns, sculptures, and sumptuous fountains.
Top Things to see at the Vatican Gardens
The Gardens of Vatican spread over 57 acres. This means there is more to it than what meets the eyes. Here is a list of noteworthy things to see in there during your time.
1Bramante’s Belvedere Courtyard
Cortile del Belvedere or Bramante’s Belvedere Courtyard is an epitome of Renaissance architecture at the Vatican Palace. It was designed by the famous Donato Bramante. The long enclosed courtyard connected the Vatican Palace with the Villa Belvedere through a series of terraces and stairs. The famous Spiral Staircase is one of them. Unfortunately, Bramante did not live to see the completed work, but it will forever tell his legacy.
It’s obviously true that the Berlin Wall is in Berlin, Germany. But did you know that Vatican Gardens has a piece of it inside? In the year 1994, Marco Piccininni gifted to the Vatican. Even before entering the Vatican Garden, you would find the Berlin Wall. If you are taking a Vatican Garden Tour, the Berlin Wall would be your first stop with the guide, and if you’re lucky, you can click many pictures standing next to it.
Rome and fountains are inseparable. The best of them are in Vatican City. During the 1590s the Borghese Pope Paul V ordered the beautiful fountains to be stored around the Gardens. Of the hundreds of fountains that you would lay your eyes on at the Vatican, Galea fountain (Fontana della Galera) is one of the most stunning fountains that would capture your attention. It represents a medieval wrecked warship that is placed in the center of a massive water basin.
4The Italian Garden
One of the most recent installations of the Vatican, the Italian Gardens was created in 1929. The layout of the garden is very traditional and follows hedges and pine trees around them. It is very easily visible from the top of St Peter’s Basilica’s Dome. It makes for a quiet walk and offers many photo ops.
Vatican Gardens Map
Visit Vatican Gardens - Practical Information
Thursday- Saturday - 9 AM - 6 PM
Monday - Tuesday - 9 AM - 6 PM
Wednesdays and Sundays are closed.
- Metro : The Rome Metro has a station just outside the Vatican walls at Ottaviano-S. Pietro. Line A direction Battistini, Ottaviano, or Cipro stations of the Metro have trains running every few minutes. It's a 5-minute walk from the Metro to both St Peter's Square and the Vatican Museums.
- Bus : 49, stops in the square in front of the Vatican Museums 32, 81, 982, stops at Piazza del Risorgimento 492, 990, stop in Via Leone IV / Via degli Scipioni
Best Time to Visit
The are open to visitors with a pre-reserved ticket and the best time to book for a tour is during the off-season - October and November. The weather would not be too hot or cold and the Vatican would not be very crowded.
The Gardens are accessible by wheelchair. You may have to request in advance while booking your ticket.
Typical duration of visit
Typically, the Gardens of Vatican take 2- 3 hours to explore. Make sure you set aside enough time to explore the gardens.
Things to do around Vatican Gardens
The Vatican Museums make up over 1500 rooms in the Vatican City. Filled in them are art from the early renaissance period to the early 20th century by world-famous artists. It is the oldest and most frequented museum in the world. Some of the most iconic rooms are the Octagonal Courtyard, Pius-Clementine Museum, Raphael rooms, and the Spiral Staircase.
Sistine Chapel is one of the most fabulous chapels ever built. Its ceilings are recognized throughout the world. Painted by Michelangelo, the ceilings depict 9 distinct parts from the Bible like the Creation of Eve and the Last Judgement. It is located at the exit of the Vatican Museums and you can find the Sistine Chapel Tickets here.
World’s largest church and the most important one is the St Peter’s Basilica in front of St Peter’s Square. The Basilica was built on the burial of St Peter, the first Apostle. The dome of the church is 138 feet tall and you can climb it in your visit with St. Peter's Basilica Dome Climb Tickets.
The Papal Palace, also known as Apostolic Palace is located in the cozy town of Castel Gandolfo. It has been the summer residence of the Pope for centuries. The palace is the jewel of the town and is seated on a scenic spot overlooking the lake, with picturesque gardens built on the site of the ancient villas. Check out the Apostolic Palace tickets when you plan your visit.
Castel Sant’ Angelo or ‘Castle of the holy angel’ is one of the most fascinating buildings in all of Vatican City. It was built in the year 185 as a mausoleum for the Roman emperor Hadrian, making it more than a Millennium old. The Castle is split into 5 stories with the top floor offering panoramic views of Rome.
FAQs: Vatican Gardens
Where is the Vatican Gardens located?
The Vatican Gardens is located in the west of Vatican City and covers more than half of the State.
What are the Vatican Gardens Opening Hours?
The Vatican Gardens are open from Thursday- Saturday - 9 AM - 6 PM and Monday - Tuesday - 9 AM - 6 PM. Wednesdays and Sundays are closed.
Are Vatican Gardens open to the public?
The Vatican Gardens have been open to the public since 2014.
Are the Vatican Gardens free?
No, you will have to purchase the dedicated Vatican Garden Tickets to visit them.
Where can I purchase Vatican Gardens Tickets?
You can check out Vatican Gardens Tickets here.