Palazzo Pontificio, Castel Gandolfo

#4 of 14 in Things to do in Castel Gandolfo
Religious Site · Hidden Gem · Architectural Building
The Papal Palace of Castel Gandolfo, or the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo from its Italian name Palazzo Apostolico di Castel Gandolfo, is a 17th-century 135-acre papal palace in the city of Castel Gandolfo, Italy. A museum since October 2016, it had served for centuries as a summer residence and vacation retreat for the pope, the leader of the Catholic Church, and as such was afforded extraterritorial status as one of the properties of the Holy See.
“The oldest parts of the castle date back to the 13th century,” said Saverio Petrillo, whose title is director of the Papal villas. “It was acquired by the Vatican in 1596 when the Savelli family, who owned it, were unable to pay a debt to the Papacy.”
The gardens occupy the site of a residence of the Roman Emperor Domitian. The palace was designed by Swiss-Italian architect Carlo Maderno for Pope Urban VIII. Popes have used the properties as a summer residence and vacation retreat, except for the years between 1870 and 1929 when the popes, in dispute with Italy over territorial claims, did not leave Vatican City. Pope Pius XI had the facilities modernized and began using the retreat again in 1934. In accordance with the Lateran Treaty of 1929, the palace and the adjoining Villa Barberini added to the complex by Pope Pius XI are extraterritorial properties of the Holy See.
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  • I enjoyed our visit and found the audio guide very good. The history of each Pope was informative and interesting. We got to visit the living quarters and the views of the lake were stunning. I...  more »
  • Me and my family of 4 adults made a day trip to Castel Gandolfo from Rome via train. It is a less than one hour journey, but with multiple stops on the way, as its not a high speed train. It stops at....  more »
  • One of the most amazing experiences of my life. Beautiful tour, nice grounds. It's a quaint town overlooking a lake. A small assortment of shops and restaurants. It's a must see during a trip to Rome. You can purchase honey and olive oil.
  • Magical place in Italy. One of the best places in Italy. You can spend half day at least there. They have very nice restaurants nearby.

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