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Why Choose It?
- Venture through the nearly-boundless papal summer residence.
- Tour the meticulously kept apostolic palace on the papal estate.
- Learn to make fresh pasta by hand with ingredients from the papal farm.
Take a break from Rome’s frenetic energy by spending a divine day at the pope’s summer residence of Castel Gandolfo. Explore the magnificent apostolic palace and lush Barberini Gardens, indulge in a cooking class and organic lunch on the papal estate, and soak up the charming atmosphere of a quaint hilltop town for a day trip that will recalibrate you for the rest of your time in the Eternal City.
Situated just over 12 miles from the center of Rome in the rolling Alban Hills, Castel Gandolfo is among the most idyllic of Rome’s surrounding towns. For millennia, it has offered a rustic refuge for Romans retreating to the countryside – first the emperor Domitian, the remains of whose palace are still scattered across the grounds, then the popes, who have been frequenting the area since the 16th century. Your private tour lets you discover it all, in expert company and uncompromising luxury.
Your day starts in Rome, where we’ve laid on a private driver
After meeting your private driver in Rome, you’ll set off down the ancient Via Appia and into the Roman countryside. Journeying in comfort and luxury through Rome’s lush rolling hills, you’ll arrive at the medieval town of Castel Gandolfo.
Perched atop the sapphire volcanic waters of Lake Albano, Castel Gandolfo is famous for its Vatican-owned territory. Since the 16th century, it has been home to the pope’s summer residence, opened only recently to the public under Pope Francis.
Visit the Apostolic Palace to explore the popes’ private apartments
Your private guide will accompany you through the opulent papal palace of Castel Gandolfo. Starting with the small museum and its curated apostolic artifacts, you’ll ascend to the second floor to explore the popes’ private chambers.
Visit the pope’s private bedroom, offices, and chapel, learning of the protocol of their visitors and the stories from when they stayed here and enjoying sweeping views over Lake Albano, Rome, and the Tyrrhenian Sea in the distance.
Journey through the papal estate to your private cooking class
Leaving the Apostolic Palace, you’ll find we’ve laid on a golf cart or minivan to take you through the meticulously kept grounds of the papal estate to your private cooking class. The Vatican’s organic farm covers 50 acres and is home to cows, free range chickens, bees, and a sprawling vegetable garden.
It also produces its own olive oil and dairy products, which are transported daily to Rome to decorate the table of the Holy Father. Pass by lush, landscaped gardens and farmyard animals, whose produce you’ll be using to create your traditional Italian cuisine.
Embark on your own culinary adventure at the Papal Farm
As you arrive at the cooking school, you’ll be greeted by your private professional chef and a wine and antipasti reception he’s laid out for you. Here you can decide what you want to cook, following his recommendations or making your own suggestions.
Your private, hands-on cooking class takes you through the traditional methods of Italian cooking. Roll your own authentic fresh pasta by hand and conjure up succulent desserts from scratch using fresh ingredients harvested from the papal farm itself. Lunch is then served with the food you have prepared — an unforgettable Italian feast perfectly complemented by specially selected local wine.
Discover the Barberini Gardens
Once you’ve lingered over an indulgent organic lunch, you’ll embark on a leisurely tour of the Barberini Gardens from the comfort of your own eco-friendly private transport. These gardens are home to an ancient Roman palace, cryptoporticus, and amphitheater as well as a series of sculpted gardens.
Explore the Barberini Gardens at your leisure as your expert guide regales you with the stories and legends of the area. Its fascinating history take you from Romulus and Remus to the incumbent Pope Francis, nourishing you with the sights and knolwedge that will make your day unforgettable.
Wander the historic village of Castel Gandolfo
Your day trip to Castel Gandolfo concludes with some time in the town center to explore the square or look out over the lake. Indulge in one last gelato, seek out some creamy Italian coffee, or wander down to the town’s terraces for sweeping panoramas over Lake Albano. Your guide will then accompany you to your driver who will take you back to Rome.
If you’d like to start this day with VIP earliest access to the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and Saint Peter’s Basilica – so you can experience them in peace before the day’s crowds descend – there is also the option to upgrade this tour to a full Papal experience with our private full day VIP Sistine Chapel tour. Click the link for more details.
- Itinerary:Apostolic PalaceCooking Class and LunchBarberini GardensFree Time in Castel Gandolfo
- Included:Tour of the papal palace and gardens in Castel GandolfoWine and antipasti receptionPrivate cooking class using locally sourced ingredientsOrganic lunch on the papal estateRecipes emailed as PDFsLuxury private transport to and from Castel Gandolfo
- Wheelchair accessible:Yes
- 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!
Wonderful Wine Tour My husband and I did the secret wine bar tour with Sara. She was an absolute delight—so easy to talk to, and very knowledgeable. She took us places we would... read moreMy husband and I did the secret wine bar tour with Sara. She was an absolute delight—so easy to talk to, and very knowledgeable. She took us places we would have never chosen on our own and they were all amazing!
My only warning is that you will be full by the end of this tour—which is a great thing! We weren’t sure how much food would be provided, so we made late dinner reservations that we ended up canceling because we had plenty to eat on the tour!!
I highly recommend this experience, and highly recommend requesting Sara as your guide! read less - 4/01/2022
A great evening with Marcos. I always wanted to know how to make the perfect pizza and gelato. Here, Marco the expert will show you how. It was a great participation event with lots... read moreI always wanted to know how to make the perfect pizza and gelato. Here, Marco the expert will show you how. It was a great participation event with lots of laughs, and we all got to sit down together afterwards to eat our creations. This is a great event for adults and children alike. Narco and his team are a credit to the company. read less - 12/05/2021
Exceeding Expectations in Unexpected Location This is an essential tour. After many trips to Rome this is an excursion we were excited to take. Our expectations were exceeded. Sara was great and made the tour... read moreThis is an essential tour. After many trips to Rome this is an excursion we were excited to take. Our expectations were exceeded. Sara was great and made the tour special. She has a great personality and is engaging. The chef, assistant, and team at Castel Gandolfo were all terrific to work with.
If there is one thing to do when visiting Rome after the major sites and time around the city, take this trip. read less - 12/03/2021
Geeking out at The Vatican Rosi was our guide for the experience and she was A+. Not just knowledgeable but also passionate and a great story teller. She was patient w questions and made the... read moreRosi was our guide for the experience and she was A+. Not just knowledgeable but also passionate and a great story teller. She was patient w questions and made the overall experience incredibly fun. read less - 11/30/2021
The 2 villas of Tivoli We did the Private tour of Villa D'Este and Villa Adriana in Tivoli. The driver picked us up from the hotel in Rome and drove to the Villa Adriana, where... read moreWe did the Private tour of Villa D'Este and Villa Adriana in Tivoli. The driver picked us up from the hotel in Rome and drove to the Villa Adriana, where our guide, Barbara, met us. Thoroughly versed in ancient history and art history, she was a lively and fascinating guide. Never exhausting or boring, always good company, Barbara clearly loves what she does, sharing her knowledge of Rome and environs and deepening the appreciation of discerning travelers who want to learn about what they see. She was a good sport, because it was a windy rainy day, not ideal for a long day outdoors! I would definitely hire her again. read less - 11/04/2021
Gracious, Knowledgeable, Experienced Walk Inside Rome has the best, most informed guides and they never disappoint!
From the first inquiry through the tour they are also the most gracious and accommodating. Our most... read moreWalk Inside Rome has the best, most informed guides and they never disappoint!
From the first inquiry through the tour they are also the most gracious and accommodating. Our most recent guide at the Vatican was TEO, knowledgeable, friendly, and someone who clearly loves the city of Rome. The owner of WIR, Marilena is hands on, and considers you a friend after the first tour! read less - 11/02/2021
Great Guide and Tour Very impressed and happy - From booking to the tour, everything was very smooth. I had some questions about the tour before booking - sent an email with responses prompt... read moreVery impressed and happy - From booking to the tour, everything was very smooth. I had some questions about the tour before booking - sent an email with responses prompt and the relevant information. We did the early morning Vatican Tour with Walks Inside Rome with our guide Barbara, who was amazing. Spending the extra money was worth the experience of WIR, in depth knowledge of the guide, early access to the Vatican and the path/route to see the highlights and relevant areas of the Vatican. Would highly recommend for anyone to book this tour, and would consider them for other tours next time in Rome! Thanks to the team at WIR and special shout out to Barbara who was so very considerate (my Mom was 89 years old and visiting the Vatican for the first time, making sure my Mom was at the front and able to see everything even though she was a tiny bit slower than everyone else! Grazie Mille! read less - 10/12/2021
Making Pizza & Gelato in Roma This was a fun, educational experience. I enjoy cooking, baking, etc so learning to make authentic Roman style pizza and a simple recipe for gelato is a skill I... read moreThis was a fun, educational experience. I enjoy cooking, baking, etc so learning to make authentic Roman style pizza and a simple recipe for gelato is a skill I can take home! Our chef/instructor, Marco, was enthusiastic and his experience shown through as he explained what and why following the recipes was important. The kitchen space was well equipped and the dining space magical. Next time we’re in Rome (yes we tossed coins in the Trevi Fountain) we will take another course from his organization. read less - 9/27/2021