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Mon - Sat / 08:30 AM - 8:30 PM
Why Choose It?
- Save 15% combining 2 tours and a cooking class.
- Book with the only operator in Rome offering this experience.
- Explore the Pope's private apartments in Castel Gandolfo.
- Master recipes refined over centuries in a hands-on cooking class on the Pope’s estate.
- Tour the lush Barberini Gardens and quaint village of Castel Gandolfo.
- Tour the Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica with skip-the-line entry.
Indulge in a day worthy of the papacy as you combine a VIP tour of the Vatican with a venture into the Roman countryside. Be driven to the Pope’s summer residence at Castel Gandolfo for a full-day trip and culinary experience before making the round trip back to Rome to take in the art, architecture, and captivating culture of the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and Saint Peter’s Basilica.
Your private, expert guide will be by your side throughout the day, ready to accommodate any of your wishes, answer any questions, and tailor the itinerary just for you. Once your day is over, you’ll feel you’ve truly experienced the Vatican and its territory in Castel Gandolfo, following in the footsteps of the papacy and mastering traditional Italian cooking using produce freshly sourced from the estate.
Journey in luxury to the hilltop town of Castel Gandolfo
The popes first started coming to Castel Gandolfo in the 16th century, traveling here for its seclusion, comfort, and stunning views over Rome and the Tyrrhenian Sea. Visit the town today and soak in the stunning scenery of its hillside and the cerulean waters of Lake Albano and you can quite see why they chose here.
Upon your arrival in Castel Gandolfo, your guide will take you straight inside the Apostolic Palace. Previously a place of absolute privacy, it was recently opened to the public by Pope Francis who converted one floor into a small museum and opened the second – the pope’s private apartments – to visitors. Discover the routines and rituals surrounding the Pope’s personal life and the procedure and protocol of his many esteemed visitors.
Experience a private cooking class on the papal estate
From the Apostolic Palace, you’ll be driven straight to our cooking school on the papal estate where your private English-speaking chef will welcome you with a wine and antipasti reception. This will whet your appetite for your hands-on cooking class where you’ll perfect the art of making a traditional Italian lunch by hand, using ingredients sourced exclusively from the papal estate.
Castel Gandolfo is home to several time-honored recipes that have been refined over generations, like the beloved cappellacci del prete (ravioli stuffed with a rich ragù sauce). Because this is a private cooking class, you can decide with your chef what you want to cook (depending on what’s freshest for the season or what you want to impress friends and family with back home!). Indulge on your main and dolce over a homemade lunch paired with select regional wines.
Roam the sculpted Barberini Gardens and town square
Nestled among the lush, landscaped Barberini Gardens are both ancient and apostolic treasures. We’ve laid on private, eco-friendly transport to take you through them while your guide tells you of the rich and gripping story of the area’s development. From Pope Benedict’s favorite garden to an ancient imperial palace and amphitheater, you’ll be able to explore the Barberini Gardens to your heart’s content, capturing the moment with stunning photographs.
This experience – one of our very best day trips from Rome – concludes in the quaint, sleepy town of Castel Gandolfo, where a medieval stone piazza overlooks the shimmering blue waters of the expansive lake below. Take some time to linger over a coffee or indulge yourself further on some regional gelato before your private driver accompanies you back to Rome and the hustle and bustle of the ancient imperial capital.
Step inside the Vatican Museums before they even open
Following your trip to the Castel Gandolfo, be transported via a private and comfortable transfer to the entrance of the Vatican Museums. Together with your private guide, roam the Vatican’s vast collection, honing in on your exact interests, answering any longing questions, and discovering hidden aspects you didn’t even know existed.
Your private guide will walk you through the Vatican’s unmissable collections, suggesting the perfect itinerary to suit your tastes. Should you wish to see something in particular, just let them know. Otherwise, they’ll guide you through a carefully crafted itinerary exploring the fabled Gallery of the Candelabra, the resplendent Gallery of Maps, and the stunningly detailed Gallery of Tapestries.
Surround yourself with Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel
Stepping inside the Sistine Chapel, you’ll find yourself emerging right beside the sublime mural masterpiece of the Last Judgment and the seemingly three-dimensional masterpiece of Michelangelo’s frescoed ceiling. The Great Master spent an astonishing four years painting the latter, suspended on his back as the paint slowly blinded him.
Take some time to savor the moment as you familiarize yourself with Michelangelo’s life-like biblical creations.
Take time to explore Saint Peter’s Basilica
Making your way directly from the Sistine Chapel to Saint Peter’s Basilica, you’ll learn all about the basilica’s long and gripping history from your expert guide. Built atop the site of the eponymous gospel writer’s burial, Saint Peter’s Basilica is the world’s most famous church. You’ll have the opportunity to explore all its treasures during your final stop at the Vatican.
Stand in the shadow of Bernini’s Baldachin, the monument built atop Saint Peter’s eternal resting place. Marvel at Michelangelo’s Pietà, one of the Great Master’s earliest artworks, as the crepuscular rays creep in through the basilica’s windows to illuminate your path. Then descend beneath the basilica to explore the crypt where many of the popes are buried. Once you’ve had your fill, we’ll make our way out into Saint Peter’s Square where you can reflect upon a truly magical day in the presence of the looming obelisk.
Itinerary:Vatican Museums highlightsSistine ChapelSaint Peter's BasilicaApostolic PalaceCooking Class on the Pope's FarmBarberini GardensCastel Gandolfo
Included:Round-trip transfer to Castel GandolfoPrivate licensed guide in the Vatican MuseumsCooking Class and LunchEnglish-speaking guide in Castel Gandolfo
Meeting Point:Hotel Lobby
Our guides are fluent in English and have a contagious passion for the inspiring cultural heritage of our Italian cities. Experts in their fields, they will immerse you in the hidden histories and intriguing lives of history's great protagonists. So much to see, so easy to miss out: with the help of our guides, visit the most absorbing sites and uncover the stories that have changed the world. Don't miss this fascinating journey!
Terrific Trastevere Food Tour with Luca! Luca took my wife and myself on a wonderful food tour through Trastevere. The things we saw and ate and learned were excellent. The best part was Luca's friendly nature.... read moreLuca took my wife and myself on a wonderful food tour through Trastevere. The things we saw and ate and learned were excellent. The best part was Luca's friendly nature. By the end of the evening we felt that we had spent a nice time with a new friend. read less - 10/03/2022
- Darren R
A must do experience This cooking class was a highlight of our trip. We got to meet a young chef, Sara. She had us decide what to cook. Then we walked through... read moreThis cooking class was a highlight of our trip. We got to meet a young chef, Sara. She had us decide what to cook. Then we walked through the market to pick out some of the ingredients, the meats and such. Then we went back to their excellent small group kitchen. We had a wonderful time learning from Sara. She taught us to make ravioli and saltimbocca and tiramisu. It was fun and relaxed and extremely delicious. We thought the whole experience was splendid. 10 out of 10. read less - 9/26/2022
Best Food Tour We Took! My fiance and I capped off our first full day in Rome with this lovely food tour. Luca was friendly, excited, and knowledgeable. We got to try a ton of... read moreMy fiance and I capped off our first full day in Rome with this lovely food tour. Luca was friendly, excited, and knowledgeable. We got to try a ton of different food and even returned to one of the restaurants later in the week. The tour groups are kept small, so our group easily got to know each other throughout the tour. We were especially pleased with how accommodating it was: My fiance is a vegetarian and can be a bit of a picky eater, so he had low expectations going in and this ended up being his favorite activity all week! We actually had a couple of vegetarians in our group and there was always an equally hearty substitute whenever necessary. Super pleased with this experience and with Luca! Best part of our week! read less - 9/21/2022
- Emily W
Worth every penny. What an evening! This was without a doubt the highlight of my trip. A great evening with plenty of incredible local food and drink and a really good way to meet and... read moreThis was without a doubt the highlight of my trip. A great evening with plenty of incredible local food and drink and a really good way to meet and get to know other travellers. The small group size made it much more personal and conversation flowed all evening! Sara (our guide) was absolutely amazing - so friendly and chatty, and so full of knowledge about the local food and Rome/Trastevere's history. She could not have been better.
I'll be coming back to Rome and will definitely be booking this again. Thank you so much, Sara, for making my first trip to Rome that much better! read less - 9/21/2022
Delicious food from fabulous foody Luca Boccia was PHENOMENAL!
His knowledge of Italian cuisine was exceptional, especially welcomed because it included more than just the well known dishes. He was funny and friendly, making our... read moreLuca Boccia was PHENOMENAL!
His knowledge of Italian cuisine was exceptional, especially welcomed because it included more than just the well known dishes. He was funny and friendly, making our time together unforgettable.
Most appreciated was his offer to remain a resource for the duration of our visit with DELICIOUS recommendations off the tourist path.
Well done Luca!!! read less - 9/11/2022
A Must Do Tour of Sistine Chapel Amazing! This was my third time to the Vatican but this time I took my adult/teen children and wife and we used a tour guide. It was a... read moreAmazing! This was my third time to the Vatican but this time I took my adult/teen children and wife and we used a tour guide. It was a small group of 9. Just 2 families. She was great. She does this 4 days a week and all the guards knew her by name. If you want to see the Sistine Chapel, then you have to go early. We were one of the first to enter and with her connections basically did not wait on anything. We also entered a section in the Vatican Museums usually off limits to the public, a section with many animal statues and other mosaics. She gave us so much history and culture. My children said it was AP World History made real. You could tell she truly loved what she did. read less - 8/29/2022
Best tour ever. Martha was our guide. She is the best. They way she explained all , answered our questions give us all the information in every place all was wonderful. It was... read moreMartha was our guide. She is the best. They way she explained all , answered our questions give us all the information in every place all was wonderful. It was a very hot summer day and she always looks for ways to give us the information under the shade before we went into the sun. I highly recommend this company and Martha as well. It was very easy to make the reservation and pay. We took the private tour and was perfect. 3 hours that feel like Half hour . We didn’t do any limes to get into the places. Know that if you go by yourself or in other yours you could be up to 2 hours under the sun to get into the coliseum or forum. I highly recommend the private tour. read less - 8/05/2022
Great Food Stroll with Luca We did the Trastevere Food Stroll with Luca B and he was great! Brought us to great authentic locations and provided his expert advice! We would highly recommend this tour... read moreWe did the Trastevere Food Stroll with Luca B and he was great! Brought us to great authentic locations and provided his expert advice! We would highly recommend this tour and Luca!! read less - 7/30/2022