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from Italy 0039 334 348 6561, from US 509 228 3482, from Australia 02 8005 6259, from UK 020 3239 5710. Current time in Rome: Sunday, Aug 20th, 7:13 pm
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Over fifty acres of gardens separate the Vatican from the secular world - filled with winding paths, brilliantly colored flowers, groves of massive oaks, ancient fountains and pools and medieval fortifications from the 9th century to the present.
Lofty palms and other plants from as far away as Australia and Brazil thrive in an harmonious blend of styles, cultures and eclectic botany that has defined the Vatican Gardens since the Renaissance.
Medieval fortifications, buildings and monuments from the ninth century to the present day are set amid flower beds and topiary, green lawns and a lush four-acre patch of forest. Paved roads and gravel paths link ornamental sections in various horticultural styles including an elegant Italian Renaissance estate, a flowery French park and a naturalistic English landscape.
A variety of fountains spread a veil of freshness over the gardens while sculpture and artificial grottoes proclaim devotion to the Madonna, and an olive tree donated by the government of Israel extends its three verdant branches. From many points in the garden, Michelangelo's majestic dome crowning St. Peter's Basilica can be glimpsed through the foliage.
Painstakingly maintained by 30 full-time gardeners, the gardens take up about one-third of the Vatican City, the world's smallest sovereign state.
Other features include a replica of the Grotto of Lourdes and a section of the Berlin Wall. There is also a long-ruined wall built in the ninth century to protect St. Peter's from further raids by marauding invaders and a small kitchen garden which provides lettuces, tomatoes and other vegetables for the pope's table. The Vatican gardens are one of the greatest garden realms of the world.
exclusive visit of Vatican Gardens closed to general public
TOUR CATEGORY: group tour in English, French, Spanish or German
Vatican Tours inc, a Vintage Europe Company, a member of European Travel Consultants Group
Customer Service: Italy 0039 334 348 6561; U.S. 509- 228-3482; Australia 02-8005-6259; U.K. 020-3239-5710