Vatican Gardens
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5 things to see and do at the Vatican Gardens

Roughly half of the Vatican is covered by flawlessly cultivated parks and gardens. You'll need to book a tour at least a week in advance if you want to see them, but here are a few of the treasures that'll be revealed if you do!

Sphere Within Sphere

Sphere Within Sphere

Arnaldo Pomodoro's Sphere Within Sphere was the first modern art piece to be exhibited at the Vatican Museums. It looks static, but push it firmly and it'll begin to rotate!

Eagle Fountain

Outside the Mater Ecclesiae nun monastery lies this spectacular fountain, designed by Giovanni Vasanzio to look like a heavenly lagoon.

Courtyard of the Pinecone

Courtyard of the Pinecone

The highest terrace in the famed Belvedere Courtyard takes its name from the 1st-century bronze sculpture of a pinecone that once crowned a Roman fountain.

Radio Vaticana

Radio Vaticana

Founded in 1931, the station played a vital role in the broadcast of anti-fascist information. Unfortunately, the first report on Nazi treatment of Poles and Jews fell on deaf ears.

House of Pius IV

House of Pius IV

Built in 1563, the beautiful "Casina di Pio IV" is the oldest building in the Vatican Gardens. It's now an integral part of the Pontificial Academy of Sciences.

Our insider tips

What are the opening times?

Opening hours are subject to reservation. The Vatican Gardens aren't open to the general public, but you can still visit as part of a guided tour. Numbers are incredibly limited, however, so you'll need to book at least a week in advance.

How to get there?

The closest Metro stop is Ottaviano-San Pietro. If you take a taxi though, ask about flat-rates (between major landmarks) or else make sure the meter's running. Some cab drivers try to get away with charging a special "Vatican fee" for tourists.

Good to know

  • When should I visit?
    Monday-Tuesday, 9:00 AM-6:00 PM
    Thursday-Saturday, 9:00 AM-6:00 PM
    Holiday hours may vary
  • Is it expensive?
    Adult tickets, which include admission to the Museums, are €32.00 per person.
  • Will I need a guide?
    The garden tour can only be taken with a guide.
  • How to get there
    Take the Metro to the Ottaviano-San Pietro station.
  • Additional information
    *The walking tour of the gardens takes about two hours. | Open bus tours also available, check online for more details. *

What people are saying about Vatican Gardens

Overall rating
4.4 / 5
based on 535 reviews

For the Vatican, skip-the-line ticket is a must. The ticket lines are insane but with this tour ticket I could walk right in. Enter from the museum access entrance. Do not wait in the line, just go to the entrance and show your voucher to the guard and they will let you in. After the security check you enter a hall, there is a tour desk on the opposite side of it. Go there and show your voucher, they will give you a ticket and tell you the meeting point for your tour. The meeting point will be right next to the desk. You will be picked up for the bus tour from there. There are also toilets if you need one before the tour. Bus tour is fun and audio guide good. Interesting experience as Vatican is chaos but the gardens are not, there are very few people there. After the bus tour you are just left to the museums (inside). It was a bit hard to know where to go, there was no map given, and the museum is HUGE with literally thousands of people.

Vatican Gardens Tour on Minibus Reviewed by

The length of the experience may seem too long but it definitely didn't feel that way. The Vatican is incredible and time simply stands still when you are in the Sistine Chapel. You simply don't want to leave the beauty and peace. Our guide, Debora, was amazing. We had a group of 5 and she made an effort to connect with each person in the group throughout the day. She was very knowledgeable and personable. The train ride to Castel Gandolfo was fun. Imagine taking a private train in the back yard of the Pope's home as you exit the amazing gardens. I highly recommend you watch "The Two Popes" in advance of going. I always find myself imagining what life was like whenever I visit a site. The movie certainly brings to life the interactions that may have happened in real life.

I really enjoyed the Sistine Chapel and I learned a lot of history.

Amazing! I learnt so much about the Vatican and is history thanks to our friendly and enthusiastic guide,however, he was a little difficult to follow at certain points as he spoke very fast. I loved everything but my highlight was the Sistine Chapel, it was Very Beautiful! I could have spent hours gazing in awe at the images and colours there. St Peters, wow, the sheer size and atmosphere is incredible! Walking in and being surrounded by the architecture and walking up to the dome (after the tour) and seeing the mosaics up close was truly breathtaking. And to top it all seeing the view from the top of the Basillica was the perfect End.

Vatican and Sistine Chapel Tour Reviewed by

The tour is very good and the commentary excellent, but if you're 'stuck' on one side of the bus you'll miss a photo opportunity on the other since there isn't always space for the driver to turn around and give everyone the photoshot they wanted. I would prefer the tour to be of longer duration to enable everyone to get off the bus and take photo's - maybe I should try the walking tour next time. (My companion is 82 and not able to do a walking tour.)

Vatican Gardens Tour on Minibus Reviewed by

It was very good but I would have liked a couple of minutes to photograph more carefully certain areas instead of rushing onward. The bus just slowed a little but then speeded up which made for poor pictures. Plus some views were on the opposite side and you had to pull off the earphones to get the picture and so missed the commentary.

Vatican Gardens Tour on Minibus Reviewed by