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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!
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
Amazon tour and guide! We toured the colosseum and underground with Gigi on Wednesday and had a great time. He was so knowledgeable and fun, he really made the tour a highlight for us.... read moreWe toured the colosseum and underground with Gigi on Wednesday and had a great time. He was so knowledgeable and fun, he really made the tour a highlight for us. I would recommend him to anyone wanting a great tour of Rome!!!-- read less - 7/07/2022
Delizioso! Our guide, Luca, was amazing! We enjoyed tastes of Rome that we would never have experienced on our own including the best cannoli I have ever tasted! Our 11 year... read moreOur guide, Luca, was amazing! We enjoyed tastes of Rome that we would never have experienced on our own including the best cannoli I have ever tasted! Our 11 year old was impressed with the pasta and the roasted pork. My husband and I enjoyed the very unique pizza. Luca was very informative and friendly and everything was so delicious. Go - and go hungry! read less - 7/06/2022
- Matthew S
Bike tour and cooking class, outstanding! We have done several tours with Walks Inside Rome over the years, and they are always incredible. This year we chose the Appian Way bike tour and the three pastas... read moreWe have done several tours with Walks Inside Rome over the years, and they are always incredible. This year we chose the Appian Way bike tour and the three pastas of Rome cooking class. Both of them were unforgettable!
First, the bike tour. I am a klutz, and the last time I was on a bike I had such a bad crash I never thought I’d do it again, but this was something my husband had wanted to do for a long time, so I nervously agreed. Our guid, Fabrizio, was amazing. He was patient with me and before long the beauty and aromas of the Via Appia Antica melted my fear. We got to experience the city I love so dearly I. A unique way, get some exercise, and learn so much about the city’s history. I absolutely recommend this experience, and we’re thankful we had Fabrizio as our guide. He was great!
That evening we got to celebrate my survival with the cooking class! Davide was our chef and he too was outstanding! Caccio e pepe, carbonara, and amatriciana are the three pastas. The class was wonderful. We were welcomed with Prosecco and a selection of cheeses, meats and olives. I’m a vegetarian but wanted to learn to make everything and was planning to just eat the caccio e pepe, but Davide grabbed some extra tomatoes and we made a pomodoro sauce that’s the best I’ve ever had just a wonderful experience! The location is beautiful, which adds to the ambience. Amazing as always, WIR! read less - 6/24/2022
Foodie walking tour of Trestaverde Luca was outstanding as our guide for our foodie walking tour of Trestaverde. Very knowledgeable, fun and easy going. Explained every stop and why each stop was selected. Also... read moreLuca was outstanding as our guide for our foodie walking tour of Trestaverde. Very knowledgeable, fun and easy going. Explained every stop and why each stop was selected. Also provided interesting history of the area. We would highly recommend Luca to anyone. read less - 6/23/2022
Great Tour Great experience, though we had 9 in our group instead of 6. Our tour group met in front of the Vatican Museum entrance just before 7:30 and entered right... read moreGreat experience, though we had 9 in our group instead of 6. Our tour group met in front of the Vatican Museum entrance just before 7:30 and entered right at 8am. Our guide Cecilia was extremely knowledgeable and spoke great English. Plenty of time to take pictures along the tour as well. We ended our tour in St Peter’s Basilica, but stayed longer to go see the catacombs. We were there probably 4 hours total. Would not have been the same experience in a larger group or later in the day. read less - 6/11/2022