Everything You Need to Know About Vatican Gardens

The Vatican Museum and St. Peter’s Basilica usually capture everyone’s attention, but visitors should not forget the green Gardens of the Vatican City!

A calming and lush nature patch of 57 acres in Vatican City, the gardens offer a great experience with their vibrant blooms and atmosphere.

They are owned by the Pope and provide a spiritual experience to all visitors. 

Visitors planning to explore the Vatican Gardens should know all about ticket booking, hidden spots to discover, timings, and more.

Read further to discover the Vatican Gardens in detail for the best trip with helpful tips to save money! 

Vatican Gardens Hours 

The Vatican Gardens open at 9 am and close at 6 pm from Monday to Saturday. 

These Vatican Gardens are not free to visit on the last Sunday of the month, like the Vatican Museums, as they remain closed on all Sundays.

We recommend you avoid visiting the Vatican Gardens on Saturday, as it is the most crowded on this day. 

How to get to the Vatican City Gardens?

As soon as you enter the Vatican City from the Via Della Conciliazione, you will see St. Peter’s Square and Basilica. 

The Vatican Gardens are located just behind St. Peter’s Basilica and can even be seen from the Dome.

The Gardens are at a 17-minute walking distance from the St. Peter’s Basilica. 

First-time visitors can check out our article on how to get to Vatican City to find easy public transport options in Rome! 

Vatican Gardens Tickets and Tours

Gardens of Vatican City
Image: Gpsmycity.com

You cannot enter the Gardens of the Vatican City without an entry ticket.

Visitors must purchase a separate ticket for the gardens, but we recommend combo tickets to save more money!

You have to purchase the Garden tickets online in advance, as they are not available at the entrance of the Vatican Museum. 

Here are some of the best online tickets to the Vatican City Gardens, which are most popular among tourists and provide the best experience! 

1. Vatican Garden Bus Tour with Vatican Museum Combo Ticket 

Explore every corner of the stunning Vatican Gardens from a comfortable seat in a minibus for 4 hours with this ticket!

Visitors can see the beautiful landscape and art and enjoy the fauna of 44 hectares of the Vatican City.

History and art buffs will learn more about the artists who contributed to the Garden’s design and discover hidden spots in the Garden!

This ticket also allows you to explore captivating art in the Vatican Museum and the famous Sistine Chapel frescos. 

Ticket price:

Adult ticket (18 to 99 years): €75

Child ticket (6 to 17 years): €54

2. Vatican Garden with Museum and Basilica Combo Ticket (Skip the line)

Begin your fun tour in the Vatican Gardens and enjoy the stunning landscape, artwork, and more for 4 hours!

You will be accompanied by a professional guide, who will show you the best spots in the Vatican Gardens, Rome. 

Next, enter the huge Vatican Museum and explore all the displays in the museum, mainly the Sistine Chapel. 

Visitors can also see the beautiful dome and architecture of St. Peter’s Basilica from the inside. 

This ticket ensures you do not have to stand in any queues and can explore at your own pace, since it is a walking tour. 

We highly recommend this combo ticket for first-time visitors as it offers a complete experience of the Vatican Museum and Gardens. 

Ticket price:

Adult ticket (19 to 120 years): €99

Child ticket (7 to 18 years): €69

Check out our Visiting Vatican on a Budget article to save more money when visiting the city! 

Vatican Gardens Dress Code

Dress Code
Image: Wikipedia.org

The entire Vatican City follows a strict dress code policy, and you will not be let in if you don’t follow these guidelines.

Men and women should follow a smart casual or semi-formal dress code. 

Vatican Gardens Dress Code for Women 

Women should wear skirts, pants, or dresses that must cover the knee when visiting the Gardens.

You cannot wear off-shoulder or sleeveless tops in the Vatican City. 

Crop tops are not recommended either. 

If you wear a sleeveless or short top, consider purchasing a shawl before entering the Vatican. 

Vatican Gardens Dress Code for Men

Men can wear long trousers and jeans; ripped jeans are not allowed. 

T-shirts and long-sleeved shirts are preferable; avoid tank tops and vests.

Short pants are sometimes allowed for men, but the rules change regularly, so we recommend avoiding them.

Men and women will be allowed to wear caps and hats in the Vatican Gardens, but this is not allowed in the Museum and Basilica.

Carry sunglasses and sunscreen on your trip to protect your skin. 

Read the Vatican Dress Code for more detailed information.

Things to see inside the Vatican City Gardens

The Vatican City Gardens is filled with aesthetic water fountains and art pieces and has a beautiful layout, offering a picturesque view.

Here are some of the best attractions in the gardens that visitors must see when exploring! 

1. The Bramante Belvedere Courtyard 

Designed using inspiration from the Renaissance period, the Bramante Belvedere Courtyard is a beautiful spot you must see!

It was designed by the famous Italian architect Donato Bramante.

The Vatican has maintained its original layout very well over the years. 

It previously connected the Vatican Palace with Belvedere Villa through a series of ornate staircases and terraces.

You can see the massive iron sphere at the courtyard’s center and a huge pinecone sculpture at the end. 

2. The Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall
Image: Cbc.ca

Yes, the Berlin Wall is in Germany, but you can see a small piece of it in the Vatican Gardens!

After the wall that divided East and West Germany during the Cold War was destroyed, Pope John Paul II was gifted a piece of it.

The wall stands as a symbol of peace in the Vatican Garden and has deep historical significance.

History buffs must have a look at this wall! 

3. Fountain of the Eagle & Galleon Fountain

The Vatican Garden has more than a hundred fountains, but the Eagle and Galleon Fountains are the most majestic!

The Fountain of the Eagle has a sculpture of a huge bird perched on the top, as it was built to commemorate the arrival of Vatican City water from the Acqua Paola. 

The Galleon Fountain is intricately designed, with the sculpture of the Papal fleet ship at the center.

Kids will enjoy looking at the flowing water and fun structures of these fountains.  

4. Lourdes Grotto 

Lourdes Grotto 
Image: Twitter.com/@EWTNVatican

This beautiful artificial cave in the Vatican Garden was replicated from the real grotto in France. 

The Grotto is a holy spot for Catholics, as Mother Mary appeared to a young girl here, and this replica is a must-visit for religious people.

Popes Benedict XVI and John Paul II always prayed at this grotto, making it a spot of great significance for all visitors. 

5. Saint John’s Tower

You can see this structure from most spots in the Garden, as it stands on the tallest hill overlooking the entire Vatican Garden.

It borders the boundary wall of the garden and was rebuilt by Pope John Paul XXIII. 

The Popes use this landmark as a resting place when the Apostolic Palace has any repairs or construction happening. 

6. Governor’s Palace 

The main building housing the seat of the Pontifical Commission for the Vatican City State is in the Vatican Gardens.

You can see its beautiful peach-colored facade, standing behind the St. Peter’s Basilica.

Visitors can discover facts about the interior workings of how such a holy city is governed on a guided tour of the Vatican Garden

7. Papal Court of Arms

Papal Court of Arms
Image: Liturgicalartsjournal.com

The Papal Court of Arms is a symbol of the Pope, which is designed personally for them.

At present, you can see the Papal Court of Arms of Pope Francis in the Vatican Garden made cleverly with trimmed hedges and colored shrubs.

You can see a crown and the keys of St. Peter in this symbol in the Garden of Vatican City. 

8. Piazza de Leonie XIII

A small spot of the Vatican Garden has been dedicated to Pope Leo XIII, and the Piazza de Leonie was built for him.

It is a small building surrounded by fountains, hedges, and a special tree planted by the Pope himself in 1903 before his death.

Visitors can also enjoy the view of the beautiful blooming rose arches in this area of the Vatican Garden. 

9. Holy images of Mother Mary

You can find many images of Mother Mary hidden in several spots around the Vatican Gardens, and these are a must-see!

It began with the installation of the Cave for Lady of Lourdes and at present the garden has 17 images of Mary on display.

You can also pray at these images following the text inscribed at the base of each image in many languages. 

10. Views of St. Peter’s Dome

Views of St. Peter’s Dome
Image: Tripadvisor.com

St. Peter’s Basilica is known to have the most beautiful facade in the Vatican City, with its high dome and columns. 

Carlo Maderno, a famous Italian architect, designed the facade of the Basilica, and this structure can be seen all over the Vatican Garden.

Visitors who do not have 4 hours to take a tour of the garden can see the entire landscape from the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica at a glance. 

11. The Rock & Italian Gardens

The Vatican Garden has different landscapes and layouts, among which the rock and Italian garden layout is the most famous.

The Rock Garden houses many unique plants, like cacti, with different rock formations and designs.

The Italian Garden is laid out in a geometric pattern, lined with pine and other native trees.

It is a great place to relax and enjoy nature! 

Want to continue your holy visit to the Vatican? Check out our Vatican Papal Audience article

Can those with mobility issues visit the Vatican Gardens? 

The Vatican Gardens are accessible to visitors with mobility issues.

The Vatican Gardens without barriers tour takes a separate route, which is easy to navigate with wheelchairs.

To book this tour service of the Vatican Gardens, you must visit the official Vatican website. 

Why visit the Vatican Gardens?

why visit Vatican Gardens
Image: Wikipedia.org

Here are some reasons why visiting the Vatican Gardens in Rome is a must on your Vatican City bucket list! 

  • The Vatican Gardens boast landscapes of different styles, with perfect geometric shapes, fun water features, and a Renaissance feel. 
  • It is a quiet experience since only limited visitors are allowed in the Gardens simultaneously.
  • You can feel closer to the Pope and learn more about the Papal history of the Vatican Museum and the garden from your professional tour guide. 
  • Nature lovers will enjoy exploring almost half of the Vatican City in these green gardens, which are 57 acres wide!
  • The garden offers a beautiful view of St. Peter’s Basilica and other popular spots in the Vatican.
  • Try to find medicinal plants in the largest botanical garden in Rome!
  • View beautiful fountains and art pieces dating back to the 6th century. 
  • The perfect place for kids to run around and enjoy nature in an open space instead of a long indoor visit! 

Tips to plan a fun visit to the Vatican’s lush Gardens!

Here are some tips to help you prepare for a visit to the Vatican City Gardens:

  • Book your Vatican City Garden tickets in advance. You cannot buy these tickets at the entrance of the Garden.
  • Visitors cannot use their mobile phones or cameras to capture photographs in the Garden.
  • Wear comfortable shoes, like sneakers and sandals, with good grip. You can walk around comfortably and enjoy the view.
  • Visitors who do not follow the dress code are not allowed inside the Vatican Garden.
  • Avoid bringing big bags or heavy luggage on your visit. You might have to leave them behind.
  • Arrive on time for your visit. Latecomers will not be allowed to enter once the tour leaves. 

History of the Gardens of Vatican City

The Vatican Gardens have been a bright green spot in the city since ancient times and extend to the north side of the Papal Apostolic Palace.

It is 23 hectares (57 acres), almost covering Vatican Hill, and is the largest garden in Rome! 

The gardens were wild orchids until Pope Nicholas III moved to the Palace in 1279 and created a beautiful enclosure space. 

The Vatican Gardens became famous for its medicinal plant collection under Nicholas IV. 

The layout of the gardens was later designed by Donato Bramante under Pope Julius II, who divided them into three courtyards.

The Cortile del Belvedere, the Library Courtyard, and the Cortile della Pigna were based on Renaissance designs.

A complex rectangular maze made of small shrubs and trees stood in the garden.

Over the years, the Vatican has added monuments, art pieces, and trees of various kinds to the gardens.

The Vatican Garden is still home to hundreds of medicinal plants and is famous among doctors! 

The best way to explore these huge gardens is on a guided Vatican Garden bus tour, as it is such a large property. 

FAQs for Vatican Gardens

1. Are the Gardens of the Vatican City free to visit?

No, you must book a ticket in advance online to visit the Vatican Gardens.

The Vatican Garden bus tour and Museum combo ticket costs €75 for adults. Children 6 to 17 years old receive a discount and can visit for €54.

2. Is it worth visiting the Vatican Gardens?

The Vatican Garden has a variety of style influences, such as the Renaissance and Italian styles.

You can also learn more about the Pope and the church from the gardens. It is a perfect experience for nature lovers, as the garden is filled with many plants. 

3. What are some fun facts about the Vatican Garden?

 You can find a piece of the Berlin Wall in the Vatican Garden.

The Garden also has many medicinal plants to find! It covers 57 acres of land, almost half the size of the Vatican City. 

4. What is the dress code for Vatican Gardens?

Avoid wearing clothes that go above your knees or show your shoulders when entering the Vatican Gardens.

5. Are people with mobility issues allowed on the Vatican Garden bus tour?

There is a special Vatican Garden tour for visitors with mobility issues, known as ‘Vatican Garden without barriers.’ Check the official Vatican website to book tickets for the same.

6. What is the best landmark in the Vatican Gardens?

The Berlin Wall, Belvedere Courtyard, and Lourdes Grotto are the major attractions in the Vatican Gardens.

7. From which spots can I see the best view of the Vatican Garden?

You can see a great view of the Vatican Garden from St. Peter’s Basilica Dome.

8. How long does it take to explore the Vatican Gardens?

It takes around 3 hours to explore the Vatican Gardens. But since most tours last 4 hours, we recommend you spare more than 3 hours for a visit. 

9. Which is the best day to visit the Vatican Garden?

You can visit on Monday and Tuesday for the least crowd. The garden is crowded on Saturday.

Featured Image: Tiqets.com

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