Things to see
Castel Gandolfo became one of the ancient Romans’ favorite summer destinations. Many aristocratic families built their own houses and palaces, such as the Villa Domitian. Domitian was the last emperor of the Flavian Dynasty. Villa Domitian had been built on the western part of the hill overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea. The Emperors Hadrian, Septimus and Constantine all enjoyed the villa as well. In 1221, the villa was the Savelli family’s property but because of the numerous debts they had, Pope Clement VIII added the villa to the Holy See’s property. In 1929, via the Lateran Treaty, Benito Mussolini offered the villa back to the Vatican City and was listed among the buildings with extra territorial privilege.
In spring 2014, Pope Francis opened the gardens of the pope’s residence to the public so now, it is possible to admire the Barberini Gardens and enjoy a breathtaking view of Lake Albano. There is even a small guided group visit which lasts approximately one hour. In August, some Papal audiences were given in Castel Gandolfo.