Exploring the Pope's Summer Residence in Castel Gandolfo with Francesca Barberini

Exploring the Pope's Summer Residence in Castel Gandolfo with Francesca Barberini


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Saturday, May 15, 2021 at 11:00 AM EDT
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Castel Gandolfo is a small charming village overlooking the lake of Albano, about 12 miles away from Rome. Since the 17th century, this enchanting corner of Italy has been the pope's summer residence. During this conversation, we will virtually discover the amazing garden of Villa Barberini –– coming to know the history of the site, from the time of Emperor Domitian up to the present day. We will experience the botanical beauty which perfectly mingles with the archeological remains, and learn about the Pope’s daily routine while he is in residence. 

The whole property covers an area of 55 hectares, including the Apostolical Palace. Their terraces overlook the main square in the village and the busy farm just outside the town’s boundary wall. But the most breathtaking site is undoubtedly Villa Barberini, owned by the Barberini family up to 1929. Originally designed around the ruins of the imperial villa built at the end of the 1st century AD for emperor Domitian, its gardens display a perfect relationship between nature and archeology: the remains of the theatre, of the imperial palace, and the astonishing cryptoporticus mingle with boxwood hedges and flowers in the Renaissance Italian garden.

Led by an expert in art history and decorative arts, join us for an interactive seminar to explore the papal residence. Designed to provoke curiosity and inform future travels, we will explore this national landmark –– where spiritual meditations, natural tranquility, and historical significance all intersect.

For more in this series, please see also Vatican Gardens: Nature, History, and Faith with Dr. Sara Magister.

Francesca is an art historian with a degree in modern and contemporary art from the Sapienza University of Rome. She specialized in the art and culture of the Baroque period and in decorative arts, subjects on which she has published several essays. Her publications include a book on the Holy Years in Rome in the XVIIth century and a book on cameos engravers in Rome in the XIXth century. She has been a licensed guide since 2001 and leads itineraries all over Rome, a city she truly loves. She is also an official guide of the Vatican Museums and Vatican City.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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