The Vatican Gardens date back to medieval times when vineyards and orchards extended to the north of the Apostolic Palace. In the 1279 Pope Nicholas II enclosed this cultivated area with walls. Over the centuries building works at the Vatican have taken away much of the original area and today the Vatican Gardens are divided into two areas (as can easily be seen from the top of the dome of St. Peter's) by the remains of the medieval walls which encircled the Vatican before the construction of the surviving 16th-century ramparts. On one side, in a north-north-west direction, is the park of the Villa Pia and the wood above it; on the other side, behind the apse of the Basilica, is the area that was set aside for agricultural cultivation until the foundation of the Vatican City State, in 1929, and later left green. The gardens take up almost half of the area of the Vatican State, the lawns trees and flower beds are arranged in the style of a 16th century Italian garden. There are fountains and artificial grottes including a replica of the Grotto of Lourdes.
Guided tours of the Vatican City are organized by the Information Office for Pilgrims and for Tourist of the Vatican City. The garden can be visited as an individual when the visits are available as follows:-
From March to October: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 10.00.
From November to February: Saturdays at 10.00 or in a group when visits are available as follows: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
It is essential to book at least 30 days in advance via fax, and tickets must be collected and paid for on the day of the tour.
Entrance 12, reduced 8.
To book as an individual fax 0669885100. To book as a group fax 0669883578. Admission is not permitted to visitors without proper dress.
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The Vatican Gardens
The garden tours depart from the guided tours desk inside the Vatican Museums and those booked on a tour are allowed to enter the museums at the exit gate in the Viale Vaticano to avoid the queues.