Trenitalia Regionale 20117 from Vatican City to Castel Gandolfo by Train • Vatican By Train Vatican Full Day PLUS
Trenitalia Regionale 20117 is the once-weekly international train from Vatican City to Castel Gandolfo in Italy, operated as part of the Vatican By Train programme. Trains run every Saturday morning to ferry visitors from Vatican City after touring the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and Vatican Gardens, and acts as the main mode of transport for the tour to continue at Castel Gandolfo.
The Vatican Railway is the shortest national railway system in the world at 300 metres long. While the track is unelectrified in Vatican City, the Vatican By Train tour uses a Trenitalia “Jazz” electric multiple unit (EMU), so I was also curious as to how that would work.
The distance between Vatican City Railway Station and Roma San Pietro Railway Station is only 620 meters, so if used for only this sector, skipping the Castel Gandolfo portion (and burning your ticket price), this also makes Trenitalia Regionale 20117 possibly the shortest international train service in the world.
For the Vatican By Train Vatican Full Day PLUS programme, I will be on Trenitalia Regionale 20117 for its actual intended purpose as a mode of transport to Castel Gandolfo.
I booked my ticket the moment the Vatican By Train tour was restarted in 2022 when tourists can return to Rome again, for a date about 3 months ahead. I opted for the Vatican Full Day PLUS package as it would include the tour of the Gardens of the Pontifical Villas (Villa Barberini), and the return train would start from Albano Laziale, the end of the line, ensuring I get to ride the full route of the train ride offered.
Vatican By Train • Vatican Full Day PLUS Itinerary
Click on each timing to view the experience in each post.
8.00 am: Tour of the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel with an audio guide
10.00am: Walking tour of the Vatican Gardens with an audio guide
11.00am: Departure from Vatican City Railway Station by electric train to Castel Gandolfo and transfer by shuttle
12.30pm: Visit to the Museum of the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo with audio guide
3.30pm: Tour of the Gardens of the Pontifical Villas (Villa Barberini) by eco friendly transport with an audio guide
5.18pm: Departure from Albano Laziale Railway Station by electric train to Roma San Pietro Railway Station
Vatican City Railway Station
Vatican City Railway Station is the only railway station of the 300-meter-long Vatican Railway network.
The headshunt at the end of the line, leading to KM0.00 at the end of the tunnel and the end of the Vatican railway network, goes under the Vatican Gardens.
I was disappointed that there was no visit to the Vatican City Railway Station building itself, which has a fountain and duty-free shop. Access to the platform was by the side of the station building.
The side façade of Vatican City Railway Station.
The freight sidings at Vatican City Railway Station. As the Vatican does not own any rolling stock, the Fiat New Holland Agriculture tractor donated to Pope Benedict XVI, “stabling” on the platform, is used as a shunter in place of a proper locomotive.
Stepping onto the platform at Vatican City Railway Station.
I see how the EMU serves Vatican City Railway Station now – it almost doesn’t. Only the rear car enters Vatican City, with the rest of the train in Rome, Italy. The single-track sector in Rome between the border and Roma San Pietro Railway Station is electrified, but the electrification does not run through the walls of Vatican City.
Walking down the platform to the train, from Vatican City to Italy.
I see why there was no visit to the Vatican City Railway Station building itself – the door to the platform is not meant for passengers.
Trenitalia Regionale 20117
The Trenitalia ETR 425 “Jazz” EMU operating on the international Vatican service to Italy.
Looking back at Vatican City Railway Station just before boarding the train.
While there are other doors opened, I made it a point to board from the rear-most door as then I can say that I boarded the train from Vatican City and not Italy.
This gate marks the international border between Vatican City and Italy. The doors are only opened when there is a train running through.
If there are no trains, the door will be closed.
The Vatican-Italy international border running through the train.
Electrification starts and ends just before the Vatican City walls.
The train moves forward with just enough safety clearance for the pantograph to still be in the electrified catenary area, and the rear car just enough to enter Vatican City as well.
Looking back at Vatican City from Rome.
Boarding the Trenitalia ETR 425 “Jazz” EMU.
The interior of the Trenitalia ETR 425 “Jazz” EMU made up of transverse seating throughout the train.
I made sure to head to the rear of the train to get a seat in Vatican City.
2-pin EU power sockets are available on board the Trenitalia ETR 425 “Jazz” EMU by the window seats.
All passengers were already on board, and the train was now just waiting for departure time.
The view from my seat right at the border of Vatican City and Italy. At least I’ll be getting a 20cm train ride in Vatican City or something, to officially say that I have departed by train from Vatican City.
Route information is not available yet on the screens.
Taking a last look at Vatican City Railway Station with the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in the background.
My Trenitalia Regionale 20117 departed from Vatican City Railway Station at 10.50am – 10 minutes early.
Immediately crossing the border from Vatican City to Rome in 2 seconds.
The start of electrification in Rome on this short branch line.
Passing by the parallel walkway by the railway tracks.
Looking back at the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.
Merging with the main line at Roma San Pietro Railway Station.
approaching Roma San Pietro Railway Station.
Roma San Pietro Railway Station
Making a brief stop at Roma San Pietro Railway Station with more passengers boarding. Roma San Pietro is a frequently-served station in Rome by both long distance and regional trains.
The Vatican By Train Castel Gandolfo Palace and Villas tour starts from Roma San Pietro, without the visit to Vatican City.
However, I don’t recommend doing just the Castel Gandolfo Palace and Villas tour as you will not be able to visit Vatican City, take the full train route originating from Vatican City Railway Station, and most importantly, the price difference is minimal at only €3 difference from the Vatican By Train Vatican Full Day tour and €14 difference from the Vatican By Train Vatican Full Day PLUS tour.
The information screen comes on at Roma San Pietro Railway Station, indicating the train route and timetable information.
My Trenitalia Regionale 20117 departed from Roma San Pietro on time at 11.08am, for the non-stop journey to Castel Gandolfo.
Non-Stop to Castel Gandolfo
Passing through Roma Trastevere Railway Station.
Passing through Roma Ostiense Railway Station.
Passing through Roma Tuscolana Railway Station approaching the massive 5-point junction east of Roma Termini.
Trenitalia Regionale 20117 is the only passenger service train to take this wye bypass turning right from Roma Ostiense to Roma Casilina. For regular trains, they will go to either Roma Termini on the left or Roma Tiburtina straight ahead.
My Trenitalia Regionale 20117 stopped on the wye bypass for quite a long while, perhaps the controller had to allow a lot of other trains to pass before my non-stop Trenitalia Regionale 20117 messes up the slots for everybody.
This gives me some time to explore the Jazz train for a little bit. A wheelchair-accessible toilet is available on board.
The Trenitalia “Jazz” EMU is manufactured by Alstom in 2015.
Exiting the vicinity of Roma Tuscolana at the eastern end of the wye.
Approaching the line from Roma Tiburtina.
Passing under an ancient Roman aqueduct and the line from Roma Termini.
My Trenitalia Regionale 20117 made another long stop at Roma Casilina, this time with a view of many trains passing by.
Stopping at Roma Casilina to allow many other high speed trains to overtake and pass by. Roma Casilina is only an operational station now, and not for passenger service.
Departing from Roma Casilina finally.
Heading alongside the ancient Roman aqueduct.
Passing over the Grande Raccordo Anulare.
Passing by the Capannelle Racecourse.
Passing by Rome Ciampino Airport.
Passing through Ciampino Railway Station.
Ciampino Railway Station is another main railway junction, and my Trenitalia Regionale 20117 takes the single-track branch line towards Albano Laziale.
Passing through Acqua Acetosa Railway Station.
The countryside scenery on this single-track line heading out of the city.
Heading through tunnels.
Crossing with a Regionale FL4 train at Marino Laziale.
The view of Lake Albano on the left means we’re nearing Castel Gandolfo.
Arriving at Castel Gandolfo Railway Station.
Castel Gandolfo Railway Station
My Trenitalia Regionale 20117 arrived at Castel Gandolfo Railway Station at 12.23pm – 20 minutes delayed.
Disembarking from the Trenitalia Regionale 20117 at Castel Gandolfo Railway Station.
The single side platform fits the Trenitalia ETR 425 “Jazz” EMU just nicely.
Following the crowd up the stairs from the platform to the main road.
This train will continue on to Albano Laziale as a scheduled train, but will run empty since everyone has disembarked at Castel Gandolfo to visit Castel Gandolfo. This is to clear the line for other FL4 services, since Castel Gandolfo Railway Station has only 1 line running through it.
A hand and flag signal is given by the conductor to the driver once the train is ready to depart.
The Trenitalia Regionale 20117 departing from Castel Gandolfo Railway Station to Albano Laziale, where it terminates.
Heading up the steps to exit from the platform.
The empty platform at Castel Gandolfo Railway Station.
The view of Lake Albano from Castel Gandolfo Railway Station.
Vatican By Train Castel Gandolfo Shuttle Bus
Shuttle buses are on standby for Vatican by Train passengers to go up to Castel Gandolfo, saving the need for a hike up the steps. This is another reason why the Vatican by Train programme is a good way to visit Castel Gandolfo.
The 2 buses were almost full by the time I reached the road, since I was the last passenger to ascend up the stairs as I was in the rear car of the train.
Looking back at the façade of Castel Gandolfo Railway Station.
Boarding the Vatican By Train Castel Gandolfo Shuttle Bus operated by Schiaffini Travel.
Taking a steep ascend up the hill for Castel Gandolfo. Glad I’m not walking up.
Passing through Castel Gandolfo town.
Quite a lot of cars at Castel Gandolfo with visitors flocking in on a Saturday afternoon.
Heading up Via Massimo D’ Azeglio to the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo.
Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo
The shuttle bus stopped right outside Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo.
The path continues to the ticket counter for more collection of tickets.
While the Trenitalia Regionale 20117 is already special in itself for being the once-weekly international train from Vatican City to Italy, even if you’re not a railway fan, it also provides additional convenience for being the only train connecting Vatican City and Roma San Pietro Railway Station in Italy directly in a single train ride.
The tickets included in the Vatican By Train Vatican Full Day PLUS tour package is also more worthwhile than buying all of the visits separately, and most importantly, it is the only tour which includes the uphill shuttle bus from Castel Gandolfo Railway Station to the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo. If you buy Castel Gandolfo tickets on its own, you have to climb slopes and steps uphill from Castel Gandolfo Railway Station to the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo, which won’t be ideal for those with mobility issues, and won’t be very fun in hot weather. If you dread climbing hills, the uphill shuttle bus would make the entire cost of the tour worthwhile already.
With the packaged price of the Vatican By Train Vatican Full Day PLUS tour package to include the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, Vatican Gardens, Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo, and Villa Barberini, I can highly recommend this tour package for its value and convenience even if you don’t mind about the significance of the rare train from Vatican City.