Rome, Ninfa and Castel Gandolfo (RHS Package)
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- Enjoy specially arranged access to the ancient gardens of Ninfa and of papal residence Castel Gandolfo
- Experience geometric perfection as you explore the grounds of the 16th century Villa Lante
- Take some free time to get acquainted with The Eternal City at your leisure
Open by special arrangement, we are delighted to offer this rare opportunity to visit the ancient and beautiful gardens of Ninfa. Equally rare is the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of the Popes as we visit the gardens of Castel Gandolfo, the traditional papal residence just outside Rome.
The romantic flower-covered ruins at Ninfa, just to the south of Rome, are as close to gardening perfection as you can get. Scented roses, hydrangeas and jasmines curtain what remains of the walls of medieval buildings and paths meander beside a crystal-clear river. Castel Gandolfo is the papal residence to the south of Rome, whose gardens Pope Francis only recently ordered should be opened to the public. The view from the balcony overlooking the Giardino del Belvedere, with its strict geometric parterres, edged by towering cypresses and umbrella pines, is a sight that will stay long in the memory.
The Villa Lante is a study in geometry and symmetry dating back to the 16th century, with many water features including a huge, balustraded water fountain which is a superb example of late Renaissance style. The 16th century gardens at Villa D’Este, romantically overgrown with tall pines, evergreen oaks and cedars, are renowned for their use of water and the garden seems to be full of sparkling spray.
The location of our hotel in the centre of Rome allows free time to explore the Eternal City and we shall also visit Viterbo, a medieval walled town which in its heyday rivalled Rome itself.
We depart from London to Rome. On arrival we will be met by our guide and continue to Rome for a short city tour. Rome has a justified claim as one of the world's greatest cities combining the magnificence of the Renaissance with the vibrancy and excitement of a thriving city. The sights are many and varied including the Coliseum, St Peter's Square and Basilica, the Spanish steps, and the Trevi fountain.
Later we continue to our comfortable, centrally located hotel. In the evening we enjoy a welcome drink, followed by dinner in a local restaurant.
We depart for Viterbo, capital of northern Lazio and the region’s most historic centre. We take a guided tour to a number of grand palaces and a host of old churches enclosed by an intact set of medieval walls. In Bagnaia we find the splendid gardens of Villa Lante, described by European garden expert Charles Quest-Ritson as “one of Italy’s greatest Renaissance gardens”. The dominant theme is water, and in front of the palazzine is a central water parterre which is a classic example of late-Renaissance or mannerist style.
We return to our hotel in the early evening.
Following breakfast we visit the gardens of Castel Gandolfo, the traditional papal residence just outside Rome. The tour begins with a shady walk to the Giardino della Madonnina, where holm oaks twist out of ancient masonry. In the afternoon we visit Ninfa for a private tour. The gardens here are laid out in the ruins of the village, and are deemed by many to be the most beautiful garden in Europe - if not the world. The garden is a true masterpiece with something to thrill the beginner or the expert gardener alike.
Enjoy an evening at leisure tonight.
This morning we visit the last of our gardens - that of the Villa d'Este in Tivoli. The 16th century gardens are renowned for their use of water. The garden is romantically overgrown with tall pines, evergreen oaks and cedars. From the upper terrace the valley seems to be full of sparkling spray and the senses are confused by the continual sound of cascading water.
In the afternoon we transfer to the airport for our flight back to London where the group will disperse.
- 3 nights at the 4* Hotel Michelangelo, Rome — bed & breakfast
- First night welcome drink & dinner
- Return flights: London to Rome
- Comfortable coaching throughout
- Visits to the gardens of Ninfa, Castel Gandolfo, Villa d’Este and Villa Lante; guided tour of Viterbo
- Services of a professional tour manager
Supplements per person
- Single room supplement: £330.00
- Insurance: £39.00 (under 65); £78.00 (65–74); £117.00 (75–90)
Regional flight connections, and/or overnight accommodation before or after the tour can be arranged on request
Departure points and times