The Vatican Gardens have been a place of quiet and meditation for the Popes ever since 1279 when Nicholas III (Giovanni Gaetano Orsini, 1277-1280) moved his residence back to the Vatican from the Lateran Palace.
Within the new walls, which he had built to protect his residence, he planted an orchard (pomerium), a lawn (pratellum) and a garden (viridarium).
The event is recorded among other places on a stone plaque which can be viewed in the “Sala dei Capitani” of the “Palazzo dei Conservatori” on Rome’s Capitoline Hill.
Created around the hill of Saint Egidio where today can be found the “Palazzetto del Belvedere” building and the courtyards of the Vatican Museums, this was to be the first Garden in the Vatican.
The tour of the Gardens allows the visitor to be part of a group tour conducted by an official Vatican Guide. The tour is unique, as it takes the visitor through 2000 years of history. Besides the natural beauty of the gardens, the Vatican City is rich in monument and precious works of art.