The magnificent and mysterious Vatican Gardens are considered one of the greatest wonders of the world. And this miracle was created due to the talent and labor of many great masters.
The Vatican consists of two practically equal parts: one of them is buildings, squares, etc., and the second is gardens and parks. To be more precise, the greenery occupies 23 of the total 44 hectares. It stretches to the west of the Vatican Palace and is separated from the outside world by high fortress walls which were built during the Renaissance and Baroque periods.
Here are a few more facts that you need to know before going on a Vatican Gardens tour
A Bit of History
Vatican Gardens were established in the late 13th century by Pope Nicholas III. Originally the park’s territory was separated from the other territory of the city by a wall, but it no longer exists today. The project of this masterpiece was developed by the famous artists Antonio Tempesta, Giovanni Maggi, and Juan Bautista Falda. Since then, its design has undergone significant changes.
A Couple of Facts
The gardens cover mainly the Vatican Hill, standing more than 60 meters high to the surrounding area. From the north, south, and west, they are fenced by the Vatican Wall. There are several springs on the territory of the Gardens that supplied water to the Vatican in the Middle Ages and also fed the subtropical vegetation growing here. The vast lawns are located on plains in front of St. Peter’s Cathedral and the Vatican Museums. A significant part of them was created at the behest of popes in the Renaissance and Baroque periods.
The Areas of the Gardens
Vatican Gardens are divided into three thematic parts: English, Italian, and French ones.
#1: English Garden
English garden is one of the favorite places of Pope Francis. This part of this place opens its doors to tourists at 10 am.
There are a lot of statues, columns, and decorative stones in the English garden. Each stone is carefully placed in the particular spot. This creates an atmosphere of untouched landscape that looks very romantic. The garden’s waterfall deserves special attention. It’s a miniature copy of a natural waterfall.
#2: Italian Garden
The Italian garden impresses with lush southern vegetation. The Vatican created a unique collection of the representatives of the Mediterranean flora together with exotic and rare plants brought from different parts of the world.
When walking around the Italian garden, be sure to check out red acacia. In natural conditions, this tree grows in the tropics of South America, Africa, Australia, Japan, and the Pacific Islands.
This plant got its name due to its coral- red flowers. Red acacia blooms 9 months a year: from April to December.
However, the plant is known not only for its looks but also for light and porous wood, from which musical instruments and toys are made.
#3: French Garden
The French garden is distinguished by a large number of small metal arches located on its territory, covered with roses or other plants.
Not far from the French garden, there are the Lourdes grottoes, curled with ivy which covers them so tightly that the walls of the grottoes aren’t visible. Here, you can admire the statue of Virgin Mary, depicted as a 14-year-old girl. Similar statues can be found throughout the gardens. These sculptures give the landscape a solemn appearance.
How to get to the Vatican Gardens
Unlike the Vatican museums that you can visit at any time, Vatican Gardens can only be accessed as a part of the group. And the number of groups is limited. Therefore, only a small number of people can explore the area at the same time. So if you’re planning to visit the gardens, you need to make some preparations. Buy an online ticket on Vatican’s official website.
Also Read: 7 Great Ideas for Low-Cost Gardening