Castel Gandolfo is one of the most popular tourist attractions just outside of Rome (~20 km). It is the official summer residence for the Pope and currently is the home to Pope emerit Benedictus XVI who abdicated the papacy.

Tourists will be delighted by Lake Albano, a beautiful natural lake which is in a crater created by a meteor impact millions of years ago. There is a trail for tourists to go around the lake and marvel at the beauty of the surrounding nature.

Although it is the name of the castle proper, Castel Gandolfo is also the name of a tiny municipality of a little more than 8000 inhabitants where tourists can enjoy breakfast, lunch, snacks and stop for a rest before getting to know the rest of the region.

The papal residence’s entrance is located at a small square in the municipality, where tourists can purchase souvenirs and books, mostly of religious nature. It is one of the favorite religious destinations for tourists in Rome.

To reach Castel Gandolfo, you may rent a car and drive over, or tours can be booked. If a tour is more convenient, please consult with your hotel or tourism guide for information on how to book a visit.  Rome’s metropolitan transportation (underground and buses) do not reach Castel Gandolfo, thus a small trip must be taken with a specially booked tour or by driving.

Although physically distant from the Vatican City, Castel Gandolfo is a sovereign property of the Vatican and recognized officially as the Pope’s residence outside of Rome.

The Telegraph has more information on how to book a tour to Castel GandolfoFor more historical facts, visit the Official Website of Castel Gandolfo (Vatican)

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Photo: Berthold Werner