What You Need To Know About Vatican Gardens

Though the Vatican City is notorious for being one of the busiest tourist destinations in Europe, the Vatican Gardens can provide one with some much-needed peace. Ambient walkways gently curve their way through pristine lawns and trimmed hedges. Dappled sunlight shines through the leaves of towering trees and the bustle and chaos of the streets of the Vatican City are left behind.

Vatican Gardens

History of the Vatican Gardens

The birth of the gardens began in 1279 when Pope Nicholas III planted an orchard, a lawn and a garden. The grounds grew substantially, now spanning 57 acres across the city. As these areas have changed and grown significantly over the past centuries, the Gardens now envelope over 57 acres. There have been many names for the gardens, originally known as the ‘The Gardens of Vatican City,’ as well as both ‘Giardini Vaticani’ and ‘The Pope’s Playground.’ Home to a range of medieval fortifications, buildings and monuments dating from the 9th century to modern day.

The Atmosphere at Vatican Gardens

Collections of plants with informative plaques can be found throughout the gardens. Each tells a different story of the plants origin and its significance to this holy place. The gardens are owned by the Pope and are 23 hectares large, which means they take up more than half of the Vatican City. A large portion of them runs over the Vatican Hill, and the highest point of the gardens is 60m above sea level, providing an excellent viewpoint for your surroundings.

These gardens have been a haven of peace and reflection since the late 13th Century. They were born to Nicholas III when he moved here, encompassed his land in walls and planted lawns and orchards which grew over the centuries to become the immaculate Vatican Gardens of today. They were founded and developed in the Renaissance era, which you can see reflected in the sculptures and installations throughout the gardens. There are also countless sites of religious significance within the gardens, like the Grotta di Lourdes, which is a replica of the Lourdes Grotto in France.

Why it is worth to visit the Vatican Gardens?

The gardens have three separate landscaping styles; English, French and Italian. Strolling through each section to see the different flora and fauna, with decorated with idyllic buildings, fountains, and sculptures inspired by each country’s greatest artists. Noteworthy pieces include the Fountain of the Eagle, which it symbolises the return of water to the Vatican from the Acqua Paola.

As well as the artificial cave named the Lourdes Grotto, which was modelled after the French Grotto of Massabielle. Great buildings include the medieval Saint John’s Tower which gives a breathtaking view overlooking the Gardens. Visit the Vatican heliport, train station, and the radio station that are scattered within the grounds as you wander the paths.

What sets these gardens aside from almost every other attraction in the Vatican City is that they are relatively exclusive. Only a few people are allowed through the gates each day. What this means is that you can take a moment to step away from the crowd and soak in the natural beauty of the Vatican City. This does not mean, though, that you can’t also enjoy spectacular views of the city from a series of vantage points around the gardens. Archways composed of vines frame iconic buildings like St Peter’s Basilica to provide truly incredible and unique sightseeing.

How you can get to the Gardens of Vatican?

The gardens entry is limited, with only a small amount of reservations each day. As well, it isn’t open to the public on all days of the week. Due to this restriction, there are three ways you can enter the gardens. First, you can join a group tour with an Official Vatican Tour Guide. They list the schedule and availability on their official website. Otherwise, you can do a private tour of the gardens a Private Tour Guide. This is best for travellers who want a more one on one guided walk, with only you and your group strolling the grounds. Otherwise, you can join on an open bus tour, which might take you to not just the gardens, but other great spots within the city.

Whether it’s the cactus garden, the shimmering water of the numerous fountains or the majestic views of the surrounding city, there is something for everyone in these gardens. Not to mention the fact that anyone can enjoy the peace and quiet.

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