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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:Round-trip transfer from RomeSkip-the-line entranceEnglish-speaking guide in Castel GandolfoCooking Class and LunchTransport around 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!
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