Day 12: Vatican Gardens by Open Bus

London to Singapore Day 12 Rome 01

The Vatican Gardens has remained relatively closed to the public, until 2011 when Pope Benedict XVI decided to allow regular visits to it. Since then, many tours has been developed with it, including the “Vatican by Train” programme to Castel Gandolfo, opened to the public in 2014 by Pope Francis, which I did not have time to go for.

London to Singapore Day 12 Rome 02

Tickets for the Vatican Gardens, no matter what tour, can only be purchased online. It gets sold out a few days after they are released for sale about 2 months before.

Online tickets for the same, if not cheaper, price also allow you to skip the famous queue line for ticket purchases to the Vatican Museums and just proceed in 30 minutes before your time slot.

London to Singapore Day 12 Rome 03

Enter from the relatively short line, with a guy scanning the code on your ticket…

London to Singapore Day 12 Rome 04

… and just enter the door for security screening.

London to Singapore Day 12 Rome 05

You’ll enter the main ticket hall. Head to the left if you have gotten your online tickets.

London to Singapore Day 12 Rome 06London to Singapore Day 12 Rome 07

You need to exchange them for the actual ticket at one of these counters. Just follow the signs for whatever ticket you have purchased.

London to Singapore Day 12 Rome 08

I took the Vatican Gardens tour by open bus as the walking tour was sold out by the time I took a day to decide whether to go or not. This was 2 months prior to my visit. Ouch.

London to Singapore Day 12 Rome 09

The route of the open bus tour.

London to Singapore Day 12 Rome 13

A new set of headphones is also provided for the audio guide. Just plug it in to the side of your seat and choose your language.

London to Singapore Day 12 Rome 10

The bus seats 28 people, and the views are better on the left side, so try to get a seat there first. I spent most of the time looking on the other side of the bus instead, which wasn’t very pleasant.

London to Singapore Day 12 Rome 11

Sample view of the Square Garden from sitting on the right side of the bus.

London to Singapore Day 12 Rome 12

The Casina Pio IV, home to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

London to Singapore Day 12 Rome 14

The Pinacoteca, which can also be seen from the Square Garden when visiting just the Vatican Museums alone.

London to Singapore Day 12 Rome 15

The Eagle Fountain, or Fontana dell’Aquilone.

London to Singapore Day 12 Rome 16

The Vatican Radio tower and administration building.

London to Singapore Day 12 Rome 17

The Lourdes Grotto, a replica of the actual one in Lourdes, France.

London to Singapore Day 12 Rome 18London to Singapore Day 12 Rome 19

The Vatican City Heliport.

London to Singapore Day 12 Rome 20

The Jubilee 2000 bell.

London to Singapore Day 12 Rome 21London to Singapore Day 12 Rome 22

The Italian Garden.

And approaching my favourite part, and probably purpose of visit…

London to Singapore Day 12 Rome 28

The Vatican City Railway Station.

London to Singapore Day 12 Rome 23

The Vatican City Railway Station sidings.

London to Singapore Day 12 Rome 24

The headshunt is located in a tunnel beneath the Italian Garden.

London to Singapore Day 12 Rome 25

The entrance of the Vatican City Railway Station.

London to Singapore Day 12 Rome 26

The gateway to and from the Vatican as part of the Leonine Wall.

London to Singapore Day 12 Rome 30

The Church of St. Mary Queen of the Family, or Chiesa di Santa Maria Regina della Famiglia, and the Palace of the Governorate as seen from the back.

London to Singapore Day 12 Rome 31

Heading back to the starting point and passing by the Square Garden once again.

London to Singapore Day 12 Rome 32

The tour was pretty comfortable, taking about an hour, and it’s good for those who may not want to walk around half a country. Would I opt for the walking tour instead of the bus if I do go back next time? Certainly, if it’s still open then.

London to Singapore Day 12 Rome 40

Following this, you are free to roam around the Vatican Museums for the day.

Cost of the Vatican Gardens Open Bus Tour: €23

Thanks to my student card, I was able to purchase reduced tickets online, saving quite a bit of money as the full price would be €36 instead. Technically, the open bus tour itself costs  €15, but it’s packaged with the Vatican Museums at  €8, and is not sold separately. You do need to pass through the museum gates to board the bus anyway. If it makes you feel better, just treat it as a bus tour with free Vatican Museums access instead!

Advertisements

One thought on “Day 12: Vatican Gardens by Open Bus

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.