The Apostolic Palace at Castle Gandolfo is located not far from Rome on Lake Albano. Twenty previously private rooms, such as a private library, study, chapel and bedroom, were opened to the public for the first time on October 22nd, 2016.
Pope Francis, as always dancing to the beat of his own drum, broke tradition by allowing the public access to these exclusive rooms. While Pope Francis is well known for denying himself luxuries, like use of this exclusive residence, only 15 of 33 Popes who could have vacationed at Castle Gandolfo indulged. Pope Francis has only visited the residence a few times and never spent a night there.
Pope John Paul II also made a splash at this papal summer home when he built a swimming pool and was subsequently photographed wearing only his swimming trunks.
The tour includes gardens, opened to the public by Francis in 2014, and Pope Benedict’s organic farm, as well as the newly opened residences. Vatican Museum authorities say that Francis or a future pope could choose to close any of these facilities from public viewing at any time. So Vatican history lovers, book your tours now!