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  • Nature
    Updated at Jul 11,2014

    The Vatican Gardens - Brilliant tour only if the weather is good:

    Practicalities: Full price ticket: 32,00 Euro. Reduced ticket: 24,00 Euro -children aged between 6 and 18 years and students aged no more than 26 years on presentation of a student identity card (International Student Card) on the day of the visit. The ticket also includes the Vatican museums and Sistine chapel. Doing the conducted tour in the Vatican Gardens gives you the opportunity of access to the museums without waiting in line. Easy reservations through the Vatican site but must do it weeks before. Duration of the tour is about 2 hours. The ticket enables the visitors to continue, on their own, a tour of the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel.

    Days: Every day except on Sundays and Vatican holidays.

    Entrance times:8.30 - 9.00 – 9.45 - 10.30 – 11.00 – 11.45 – 12.30 – 13.00.

    audio guide: Italian, English, French, Spanish, German.

    I recommend taking this CONDUCTED tour in the beginning or end of your day of visit the Vatican Museums. In a hot day - take the Gardens as EARLY as possible. Avoid coming in a very hot and/or humid weather. There is water along your visit route. Note that the sheer numbers of people in the museums is always overwhelming after the serenity of the garden walk. Bear in mind that the Gardens are the only opportunity to view the entirety exterior of Michelangelo's dome on top of St. Peter's Basilica.

    You visit the Gardens only with a group and with a Certified Vatican Tour Guide (one guide every 40 participants). You must make reservation in advance (internet, telephone, on spot). Book online before arriving to be able to skip the queues. At the moment of the reservation an advance payment is required. You will pay the balance on the day of the visit.

    After the payment is confirmed the applicant will recieve an e-mail with the confirmation of the booking, the voucher containing the reservation code and tour information. The applicant is asked to print off the voucher so as to present it (with its bar-code) on the day of the tour. The reservation will be checked by means of the bar-code present on the voucher. This tour is not for people with limited walking ability or are mobility impaired. 

    The tour lasts a couple of hours and takes you past beautiful fountains and sculptures, manicured lawns and flower beds while allowing you the most amazing views of the dome of St. Peter's and the city beyond.

    (Italian: Giardini Vaticani) in Vatican City. They are private urban gardens and parks which cover more than half of the Vatican territory in the South and Northeast and they are bounded by stone walls in the North, South and West. The gardens and parks were established during the Renaissance and Baroque era and are decorated with fountains and sculptures. There are several springs under the earth which are not in use.There is a wide variety of flora, and the area is considered a biotope. There are a variety of fountains cooling the gardens, sculptures, an artificial grotto devoted to Our Lady of Lourdes, and olive trees donated by the government of Israel. There are very few buildings in the "green area" such as Radio Vatican with its huge antennas and a variety of medieval fortifications, buildings and monuments from the 9th century to the present day. Some of the excursions in the Gardens pass near the residents of Benedict XVI and the Domus Santa Marta where Pope Francis lives. You also get to see the Papal private rail track and the landing pad for his helicopter.

    The Gardens are from the place of rest and meditation of the Roman Pontiff since 1279, when Pope Nicholas III (Giovanni Gaetano Orsini, 1277-1280) moved the Papal residence from the Lateran to the Vatican. Within the new walls, which had erected in defense of his residence, the Pope planted an orchard (pomerium), a lawn (pratellum) and a veegetables garden (viridarium), as can be seen from the epigraph stone now kept in the room at the Palace of the Captains in the Capitoline Museums in the Capitoline Hill. This first unit was built near the hill of Sant'Egidio, which now houses the Palazzetto del Belvedere ed i Cortili and the courtyards of the Vatican Museums. The area where today begins the visit to the Vatican Gardens is located instead in the newer part of the state, on which were built new large gardens that, together with those of the original nucleus, covering about half of the area on which extends the Vatican. The place is quiet and not as many people go here compared to St. Peter Basilica and Vatican Museums. It's fun on a good weather day.

    Exit from the Vatican Museums' entrance to the Gardens:

    Mosaic from Caracalla Baths - displayed near the entrance to the Gardens:

    View to the Vatican Museums:

    A small fountain:

    Statue of Augustus:

    Statue of Pope Leo XIII:

    Madonna della Guardia shrine. A replica of The Shrine of Nostra Signora della Guardia ("Our Lady of the Watch") which is a Roman Catholic place of pilgrimage located on the top of Mount Figogna in the Municipality of Ceranesi, about 20 kilometres from the city of Genoa, in the northwest of Italy. In memory of the Grotto of Lourdes:

    The Vatican walls built by Leo IV (847 -855) in Piazzale S. Chiara:

    A frieze depicting Pope Leo XIII, Bismarck and Prime Minister of Spain in a dispute on isles in the Far East:

    Gardens around the Vatican Radio Station - Largo della Radio:

    The flowering French Garden:

    The French Garden - view to St. Peter Basilica Dome:

    A Sea Nymph blows water into the air through seashells in one of two "Siren Fountains" in The Garden Of The Arches:

    Exit from the French Garden - facing the Grotta di Lourdes:

    Grotta di Lourdes (also Grotta della Madonna di Lourdes) is an artificial cave in the Vatican gardens. It was built in 1902–5 and is a replica of the Lourdes Grotto in France. The context of building this grotto is the vision of the Madonna that a young girl, Bernadette Soubirous, experienced 18 times. Pope Francis, a day after his appointment as the new Pope, visited the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes on the afternoon of 15 March 2013 and offered prayers before the statue of the Virgin Mary. The grotto donated to Pope John XXIII (Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, 1958-1963). It is a place where traditionally at the end of May each year the pope comes to pray and greet the faithful who have made their way up the hill in a torch-light procession:

    An olive tree more than 200 years old grown near Nazareth was sent as a gift from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Pope Benedict XVI. The tree was planted at Viale Degli Ulivi, or Olive Tree Boulevard, in the Vatican Gardens:

    The Frogs Fountain:

    Statue of Juan Diego: one of the most special pieces of sculpture in the Gardens is its namesake statue, which was donated by Mexico to Pope Pious XII in 1939. Its figurative program represents the foundation story of Our Lady of Guadalupe: the statue depicts the apparition of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe as it was miraculously revealed in Mexico City In the year 1531. The poor native Juan Diego stands, showing the sacred image of the Virgin that had appeared on his vestment, while the Franciscan Bishop Juan de Zumaraga kneels before it, bowing down as a witness to the miracle of the beautiful, sacred image of Our Lady of Guadalupe:

    Cedar trees:

    The Leonine Wall with its two mighty towers:

    St. John's Tower:

    Statue of John Paul II:

    In the end of the Leonine Walls, near one of the towers, further on is a clearing called “capanna cinese”, meaning Chinese hut, where one can admire a bell which is a memento of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. In this area Pope Pius II used to make his daily afternoon walk:

    La Madonna del Divino Amore:

    The manicured, formal, box-hedged Italian Garden:

    St. Peter Dome from the Italian Garden:

    St. Peter Statue and Dome - from the Italian Garden:

    Fontana dell'Aquilone (Fountain of the Eagle):

    The Pontifical Academy of Sciences - seeks to pay honour to pure science, wherever it is found, to assure its freedom and to promote its research. The Academy was founded in Rome in 1603 by Federico Cesi, Jan Heck, Francesco Stelluti and Anastasio De Filiis. It was originally called the Academy of the Lincei, then the Pontifical Academy of the New Lincei. On October 28th 1936, Pope Pius XI granted it new Statutes and the name it has today. The latest Statute was approved by Pope Paul VI on April 1st 1976. The academic body comprises 80 Academicians chosen from among the world’s most famous scientists. The Pope appoints the members of the Academy. It is the only Academy of Sciences in the world that operates beyond national boundaries. It is located in the Casina of Pius IV (Casina Pia) in the Vatican Gardens. The Casina Pio IV (or Villa Pia) is a patrician villa in Vatican City which is now home to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas:

    Courtyard of the Academy:

    The highly charged Mannerist front of the Casina Pio IV:

    Vatican Gardens - Giardino Quadrato (Square Garden) - opened in 2013. And back to the entrance of the Vatican Museums: