The Vatican Gardens have been a place of quiet and meditation for the popes since 1279 when Nicholas III moved his residence back to the Vatican from the Lateran Palace. Within the new walls, which he had built to protect his residence, he planted an orchard (pomerium), a lawn (pratellum) and a garden (viridarium).

Created around the hill of Saint Egidio (where the Palazzetto del Belvedere is located today) and the courtyards of the Vatican Museums, this was to be the first garden in the Vatican. However, should you visit the Vatican Gardens today you would begin by viewing a totally different area from that first orchard, one located in a more recent addition to what is now Vatican City State. It is there that larger and more recent gardens have been planted, covering together with the original garden about half of the 44 hectares of Vatican City.



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Founded: 1279
Category: Miscellaneous historic sites in Vatican City State


4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

karo Linka (2 years ago)
Beautiful green spaces, a bit too much concrete
Victor John (2 years ago)
A beautiful and well kept papal garden. I really loved it
Jasper Verbeke (3 years ago)
Nice but not as spectacular as you would think, go to the top of the basilica first.
Maja Wis (3 years ago)
I guess the best part is restricted. The accessible bit is ok, you can see the wealth of Vatican poured into maintenance while keeping it "simple" at the same time
Dan (DV) (4 years ago)
The bus tour was great, especially for the end of December when it can get cold. The bus had a plastic cover so you don't face any wind. There was practically no queue. You're allowed in with ~45 minutes before the time on the ticket and in no time you're past the scanners. There are separate counters from where you can get the tickets insinde the building (almost no line). When the tour is done, you can visit the rest of the museum; no other waiting involved.
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Historic Site of the week

Spisskà Kapitula

Spišskà Kapitula, a unique fortified ecclesiastical ensemble, began as a small fortified settlement overlooking Spišské Podhradie in the 12th century. It was the site of the residence of the Provost of the castle, in the no longer extant St Martin"s monastery, and later became a capitulary. This was destroyed in by Tatars in 1241-1243, but the pilgrim"s chapel, in rotunda form and dedicated to the Virgin, survived until the 18th century and the monastery until the 15th century.

The complex of buildings there is based on the Cathedral of St Martin, where building began in 1285 as a three-aisled Romanesque basilica with a chancel at the west end and a double spire. It owes its present form to successive remodellings and additions in the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles.

The Provost's residence was completed in 1281 and further religious buildings were added. Frequent raids by marauding Bulgars and others led to its being fortified in the 14th century. The cathedral was rebuilt in the later 14th century. In 1776 it became the residence of the Bishop and four years later a seminary was established. In 1819 the first teacher training centre in Hungary was founded there.

The Bishop's Palace is largely Baroque, with some excellent interior decorations, like many of the religious buildings in the group. The oval ground plan of the centre of the town is due to its having been fortified in the 14th century. The various religious buildings had defensive functions in this early period. New monastery buildings were erected when the provost"s residence was rebuilt and the whole area fortified. The earlier central fortifications were removed in the 18th century.

Spišské Kapitula is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site Levoča, Spiš Castle and the associated cultural monuments.