After-Hours Pope’s Summer Residence Tour

After-Hours Pope’s Summer Residence Tour

New Tour

Tour Highlights

  • Enjoy after-hours access to the Pope’s Summer Residence open only to our small group
  • Discover the Pope’s Private Apartments & Gardens with an Official Vatican guide
  • Relax in private, round-trip transportation from Rome
  • Small groups of 25 people or fewer


This 17th-century abode has served as a summer residence to the Pope since Urban VIII chose it for its stunning location in 1626. Get an exclusive look at the Papacy on this private, after-hours tour.

Tour Description

Thanks to the special partnership between the Vatican and Dark Rome, this tour offers exclusive after-hours access to the magnificent palaces and gardens of the Papal Palace of Castel Gandolfo. Join us for an exclusive journey of discovery to this amazing Vatican getaway just 15 miles south of Rome in the Alban Hills. You will be treated to a private, guided visit of the Papal Summer Residence, including the Apostolic Palace, coveted Private Papal Apartments, and the Barberini Gardens.

Meet your group in Rome and embark on the 1-hour bus ride to Castel Gandolfo by private coach. As the city transforms into lush forested hills, you’ll begin to feel the enchantment of this area. Not only is it sealed off from the noise and chaos of Rome, it’s also a place where nature still reigns supreme, a fact that has drawn the Popes here for centuries.

Continue your tour to the San Carlo Theatre, the oldest continuously used opera house in Europe, and the iconic Umberto I shopping-gallery, an Art Deco masterpiece of iron and glass, which displays unparalleled creativity and elegance.

Once arrived, you will stand in awe of an immense volcanic lake whose crater walls are crowned by the Papal Palace itself. An official Vatican guide will welcome you for a spectacular visit to the Apostolic Palace and a rare look at the Papal Apartments including the Pope’s private bedroom, study, and chapel. This 17th century abode has served as a summer residence to the Popes since Urban VIII chose it for its stunning position and panorama in 1626. Explore this remarkable complex, often referred to as the ‘Second Vatican’, culminating in the breath-taking view of the surrounding landscape from the Papal Terrace.

Continue for a stroll covering the best of the Barberini Gardens, renowned as some of the most beautiful in Italy. Built over the ruins of Emperor Domitian’s villa, the gardens boast natural and archaeological features that will make you feel that you’re in an earthly paradise. Your tour will include the stunning Magnolia gardens, the impressive ruins of an imperial theatre, the ancient ‘crypto-portico’ covered passageway, and the amazing sea views of the Belvedere Gardens. After you have experienced this feast for the senses, make your way back to your private, air-conditioned coach for the journey back to Rome.

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What's included

  • Entrance ticket for the Apostolic Palace, Private Papal Apartments and its gardens
  • English speaking Official Vatican Guide in Castel Gandolfo for the tour of the Apostolic Palace, Private Papal Apartments and gardens
  • Round-trip transport from Rome in an air-conditioned bus
  • Small groups of 25 people or less

Sites Visited

  • Pope’s summer residence with Apostolic Palace, Private Papal Apartments and Barberini Gardens
  • Lake Albano


  • Is an advanced booking necessary or can I just show up at the meeting point?

    We strongly advise against arriving at the meeting point without a booking as we cannot guarantee that there will be space left on the tour. Our guides are unable to accept payment for tours so any bookings made on the spot will still need to be processed over the phone with payment by credit card.

  • How will I recognize the guide?

    Our City Wonders coordinators will be wearing blue polo shirts or jackets at the meeting point for easy recognition and holding a sign with the tour name.

  • I would like to add another person to my booking

    We are happy to assist with this request - availability permitting. Please contact our Customer Care Team who can check availability on the tour and take payment for the additional booking, as payment details are not saved in our system for security reasons.

Get to Know Dark Rome

A Dark Rome tour is the product of meticulous research, detailed planning, and a passion for providing customers with travel experiences they will cherish forever.

With Dark Rome it's not just facts, our passionate guides tell you the stories that bring the sights to life.

  • All of our guides are experts in their field
  • We only hire fluent English-speakers so nothing is ever lost in translation
  • We focus on the little details and anecdotes that make Dark Rome so special

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