Vatican Gardens

Gardens of Vatican City

The Vatican Gardens, spanning 23 hectares, is a serene space full of natural, artistic, and architectural marvels. Nestled within the walls of Vatican City in Rome, the gardens occupy a major portion of the Vatican hills. Whether for relaxing amid beautiful nature or exploring the rich history of the space, the Vatican Gardens draw thousands of visitors every year. In the past, this lush green sanctuary served as a tranquil space of meditation and prayer for the Popes. Meticulously crafted and maintained lawns, colorful flower beds, and a unique medley of sculptures, trees, and fountains mark the beauty of this exotic place. Visitors to Vatican City are often drawn to the peaceful ambiance and rich history of the Vatican Gardens, making this place a must-see destination year-round.

Vatican Gardens Highlights

  • Enjoy stunning views of the gardens and the picturesque Vatican City from the top of the ancient tower
  • From the tower, you can catch a joyous glimpse of the Vatican Gardens.
  • Admire The Lourdes Grotto, a marvelous recreation of the tranquil pilgrimage cave in Massabielle.
  • Marvel at the Papal Coat of Arms, creatively crafted from hedges and, decked with vibrant perennials.
  • Visit the Palazzo di Leone XIII, constructed as a tribute to Pope Leo XIII, boasting two beautiful fountains, climber rose bushes, and verdant shrubberies.
  • Explore the fascinating collection of representations of Mary, gathered in 1902 in the Vatican City Gardens.
  • Take a walk through the Vatican Heliport, a rail station for the Pope, and a radio station for the general public.


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History of Vatican Gardens

The history of the Vatican City Gardens can be traced back to the Medieval period when lush vineyards and orchards adorned the area surrounding the Papal Apostolic Palace. Under the guidance of Pope Julius II in the first half of the 16th century, the area underwent significant re-landscaping. Donato Bramante's original Cortile del Belvedere plan featured three Renaissance courtyards: Della Pigna, Della Biblioteca, and the Cortile del Belvedere. A maze crafted out of Lebanon cedar, Pinewood, and Boxwood, and rectangular in shape, was added. The wall built by Nicholas III was also replaced by Bramante, who constructed a massive rectilinear wall, thereby strengthening the garden's security and enhancing its structure.


Suggested Read: Vatican History

Things to See at the Vatican Gardens

Bramante’s Belvedere Courtyard

One of the finest specimens of Renaissance architecture, this opulent and magnificent structure was constructed by the celebrated Donato Bramante.


He included a series of steps and terraces within this architectural manifestation, establishing a link between the Vatican palace and the Villa Belvedere.

Berlin Wall

You would indeed be surprised to know that a portion of the famous Berlin Wall is within the Vatican gardens. This fragment was presented by Marco Piccininni to the Vatican in 1994.


On a guided tour of the Vatican gardens, this portion of the Berlin Wall should ideally be your first stop.

The Fountains

When you think of Rome, you likely think of the many beautiful fountains dotting the city. Some of the most spectacular fountains are found in and around the Vatican gardens.


These wonderful fountains were preserved within the gardens by Pope Paul V Borghese. One of the most impressive is the Galea Fountain, also known as the Fontana Della Galera.

The Italian Garden

Crafted in 1929, these stunning gardens are one of the most recent additions. The gardens depict a traditional layout and consist of pine trees and hedges.


The beautiful arrangement of trees and hedges in the Italian gardens can be visualized clearly from the top of St. Peter’s Basilica’s Dome.

Interesting Facts about Vatican Gardens

  • Local people and even tourists know these gardens by the name of Giardini Vaticani and Pope’s Playgrounds.
  • The gardens feature three distinct design styles: English, Italian, and French. Each of these styles can be visualized individually.
  • The 23 hectares of land that the gardens cover constitute more than half of the total area of Vatican City.
  • The orchards and lawn that Pope Nicholas III planted way back in 1279 later became the Vatican gardens.
  • A chunk of the Berlin Wall is within the gardens of Vatican City.
  • These gardens were designed exclusively for the relaxation and meditation of the Pope; therefore, the general public has limited access. Visitors to the Vatican gardens can only enter with a tour guide.

Plan your Visit to Vatican Garden

Essential Information
How to Reach
Why visit the Vatican Gardens?

Opening Time: 9.00 AM Mon - Sat

Closing Time: 6.00 PM. Entry is permitted until 4.30 PM


The Vatican Gardens remain closed on Sundays and Catholic holidays like Solemnity of Mary (Jan 1), Easter, Christmas (Dec 25), All Saints' Day (Nov 1)


Best Time to visit:

The best time to visit the Vatican Gardens is during the spring season or early summer (from April to June). The weather remains pleasant during this time of year, and the gardens become colorful and vibrant.


Also Read: :Best Time to Visit Vatican Museums

  • By Road: The easiest and cheapest way to reach Vatican City from Rome Airport (FCO) is by driving, which takes no more than 26 minutes. Cabs and buses (No. 64, 46, 982, and 916) are available to take you to Vatican City and the gardens of Vatican city.
  • By Metro: The closest metro stop to the Vatican Gardens is Ottaviano (Metro line A), which is about a 15-minute walk from the gardens.


Suggested Read: Vatican Museums Facts

  • It has three different architectural styles: Italian, English, and French.
  • It has a tranquil ambiance, along with several architectural marvels in the form of sculptures, fountains, and fortifications.
  • The fascinating geometrical patterns of the Italian-style gardens will leave you amazed. 
  • The beautiful flower beds found in the gardens are the finest specimens presenting a riot of colors.

FAQ's of Vatican Gardens

Are Vatican Gardens included in my Vatican tickets?

Vatican Museum tickets are separate from Vatican Gardens tickets. However, once you buy tickets for the Vatican gardens, you can also visit the Sistine Chapel.

Do I have to follow a dress code for visiting the Vatican Gardens?

Yes, like other sacred places, the Vatican City gardens require visitors to adhere to a strict dress code. All visitors must wear clothing that covers their shoulders and includes skirts or slacks that cover their legs and fall below the knees.

Is photography allowed in the Vatican Gardens?

Yes, photography is allowed in the Vatican gardens, enabling you to capture the beauty of nature and architectural masterpieces. However, professional photography using props such as tripods is strictly prohibited, and photos should be taken without flash.

Is the Vatican Garden worth visiting?

Yes, the Vatican gardens are worth a visit. Lovers of medieval architecture, sculptures, fountains, and lush nature with beautiful flowers will find this place offers a unique experience.

How long does it take to visit the Vatican Gardens?

Touring the Vatican gardens typically takes two hours. Those planning to visit Saint Peter’s Basilica will need an extra hour. Therefore, it is advised to set aside approximately three-four hours for the tour.

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