The town of Castel Gandolfo is located 15 miles southeast of Rome. The city is situated in the Alban Hills which overlooks Lake Albano. I’ve visited the city a few times in the past and the views from the city overlooking Lake Albano are breathtaking. I’ve also enjoyed visiting the city because it is a nice break from the highly populated city of Rome. The population of Castel Gandolfo is currently 8,834 residents.1 Inside Castel Gandolfo lies the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo. The Papal Palace serves as a summer residence for the Pope. The palace lies within the jurisdiction of the Holy Sea and not Italy.2 However, currently Pope Frances has not utilized the residence like his predecessors. This has caused some friction from Castel Gandolfo’s residence because less tourist are visiting during the summer.
The town square is filled with several shops, restaurants, and churches. In the center of the square is the Castel Gandolfo Fountain.
The Parish Church located in the town square was designed by Bernini (1658-1661) on order of Pope Alexander VII. The church is a simple yet beautifully designed structure. I like the church because it is not too busy with lavish decorations. The eyes can rest and focus simply on the alter and dome.
Don’t forget to look behind and beside you from the edge of the cliff. You will see some pretty views of the city and streets near the edge. There are several summer homes along the lake and the area is also scattered with ruins; which makes the area ideal for archeologist.3
How to Get to Castel Gandolfo
The easiest way to get to Castel Gandolfo from Rome is by car. The drive shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes even with heavy traffic. If you don’t have a car, take the bus from Anagina Metro station via Cortral. The bus will drop you off near the center of town. I don’t recommend the train because it will leave you at the very bottom of the Alban Hills and the walk up to the town is grueling. However, if you decide to take that train; the train leaves from Termini station.
Castel Gandolfo is a beautiful town to visit if you’re in Rome. It’s a perfect day trip to get outside the city and see another beautiful part of Italy. I’ve included more photos below. Enjoy!
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* Information gathered from the Rome tourist office and wikipedia.com