Saturday, April 2, 2016

Tour of the Vatican Gardens

Having been to Rome many times, we've toured the Vatican, the museums, and the Sistine chapel, but we'd never been to the Vatican gardens, which are gorgeous.  It's a whole different view of the basilica, and the grounds of the Vatican.  We took the bus tour, which is about 1 hour, and is translated into many languages, so you can follow along with earphones that are provided.  Your admission is also admission to the Vatican museums and Sistine chapel but you need to make reservations in advance on the Vatican website.
Although it's April, some plants were not quite at their peak, I think that in May it will be spectacular.  For now, it was a gorgeous day here in Rome, temperatures in the low 70's and a bit overcast, so it wasn't the scorching hot that I've been used to here.

The views of the back side of the basilica make it seem even larger if that is possible.  As we were looking at this part of the garden, there were 20 to 30 parrots in the trees, I'm not sure where they came from but I felt like I was in Ocean Beach back in San Diego. They are called Monk Parakeets which is apt.

Back in the day, some popes had caged wild animals such as lions and tigers living on the property, as well as ostrich, and other wild creatures, probably to scare off marauders, but that practice ended with Pope Pius X (1835-1914) who thought this was inhumane.

Throughout the garden there is beautiful art work as well as the gardens.  Above is a bell that was cast for the last year of Jubilee.  It was in the center of St. Peter's square during that year, then relocated to the gardens.  This year is a Jubilee year celebrating mercy.

Business as usual

I love the umbrella trees!

This is an Ethiopian church, still used today for mass and special ceremonies.

Papa Francesco lives here--they wouldn't let me off the bus to say hi

Around every turn, there were beautiful sculptures, gardens, and fountains.  There are over 30 gardeners that tend the grounds here. 
This garden is representative of the current pope's crest, carved into the medallion in the center. 

If you have the time, this is a great tour, you get a better perspective of how large Vatican city really is, and the buildings on the grounds represent a government, with a court, jail, train, hotel and guest houses.  Former Pope Benedict has a residence on the grounds as well.  Tomorrow is a hang out day, as we get ready to move from our apartment in Prati to the American Academy in Rome on the Janiculum Hill.  Stay tuned for more adventures.  Ciao for now!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing such magnificent photos and a new perspective of the Vatican!!!