RELIGION

The Summer Estate Too Lavish For The Pope Is Now Open For Tourists

Don't mind if we do.
An aerial view of the papal palace of Castel Gandolfo in Lazio, Italy.
An aerial view of the papal palace of Castel Gandolfo in Lazio, Italy.

Pope Francis may be too humble to spend time at the lavish palace of Castel Gandolfo, but we aren’t.

The Vatican announced on Friday that the papal 135-acre estate will now be open to the public for visits. Popes throughout the decades have used the palace and gardens as a summer residence, but Francis has turned down this opportunity since becoming pope, opting for humbler accommodations.

Some 15 miles south of Rome, Castel Gandolfo is a feast for the eyes. The estate houses the Papal Palace, the Vatican Observatory, the Barberini Palace, and apartment housing for 21 employees, as well as a sprawling garden and working farm that supplies fresh produce, eggs, honey and dairy to the Vatican.

Pope Francis first opened the gardens to the public in 2014, in part to help offset economic downturn in the lakeside town where the estate is located, reports the Associated Press.

Now visitors can tour inside the papal apartments and even view the bed in which Pope Pius XII and Pope Paul VI died and John Paul II recovered from an assassination attempt in 1981.

If you aren’t able to make it to Italy ASAP, then scroll down for a virtual tour of the gorgeous property:

  • A view of the pontiff's private apartments, now open to tourists as a museum, at the former summer residence in Castel G
    ALBERTO PIZZOLI via Getty Images
    A view of the pontiff's private apartments, now open to tourists as a museum, at the former summer residence in Castel Gandolfo.
  • Pope Francis has renounced the delights of Castel Gandolfo outside Rome and opened his private apartments to tourists, the Va
    ALBERTO PIZZOLI via Getty Images
    Pope Francis has renounced the delights of Castel Gandolfo outside Rome and opened his private apartments to tourists, the Vatican said on Oct. 21.
  • The 17th century palace is located outside of Rome in the town of Castel Gandolfo and overlooks Lake Albano.
    ALBERTO PIZZOLI via Getty Images
    The 17th century palace is located outside of Rome in the town of Castel Gandolfo and overlooks Lake Albano.
  • Francis first opened the estate's gardens to the public in 2014.
    ALBERTO PIZZOLI via Getty Images
    Francis first opened the estate's gardens to the public in 2014.
  • Since last year, tourists have been able to ride a special white train for an express trip to the lavish estate and a to
    ALBERTO PIZZOLI via Getty Images
    Since last year, tourists have been able to ride a special white train for an express trip to the lavish estate and a tour of the papal villa.
  • The estate features an organic farm, which houses cows, free-range hens, cockerels and bees.
    ALBERTO PIZZOLI via Getty Images
    The estate features an organic farm, which houses cows, free-range hens, cockerels and bees.
  • The estate covers 135 acres.
    ALBERTO PIZZOLI via Getty Images
    The estate covers 135 acres.
  • Visitors to the estate get a rare glimpse of the bed where Pope Pius XII and Pope Paul VI died and where John Paul
    ALBERTO PIZZOLI via Getty Images
    Visitors to the estate get a rare glimpse of the bed where Pope Pius XII and Pope Paul VI died and where John Paul II recovered from an assassination attempt in 1981.
  • The Vatican Museums, which house the Sistine Chapel and other papal treasures, run the Castel Gandolfo estate.
    ALBERTO PIZZOLI via Getty Images
    The Vatican Museums, which house the Sistine Chapel and other papal treasures, run the Castel Gandolfo estate.
  • Pope Francis has visited the palace 15 miles from Rome only a couple of times since his election in 2013.
    ALBERTO PIZZOLI via Getty Images
    Pope Francis has visited the palace 15 miles from Rome only a couple of times since his election in 2013.
  • Francis has never spent the night at the luxurious estate.
    ALBERTO PIZZOLI via Getty Images
    Francis has never spent the night at the luxurious estate.
  • Popes past have always used the estate as a summer getaway, and Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI closed out his papacy there on Feb
    ALBERTO PIZZOLI via Getty Images
    Popes past have always used the estate as a summer getaway, and Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI closed out his papacy there on February 28, 2013.
  • The pontiff typically takes a break during the summer months, but he chooses to spend them in Rome.
    ALBERTO PIZZOLI via Getty Images
    The pontiff typically takes a break during the summer months, but he chooses to spend them in Rome.
  • The estate <a href="http://www.vaticanstate.va/content/vaticanstate/en/monumenti/castel-gandolfo.paginate.1.html" target="_bl
    ALBERTO PIZZOLI via Getty Images
    The estate houses the Papal Palace, the Vatican Observatory, the Barberini Palace, apartment housing for 21 employees, an electrical plant, offices, farm buildings and animal stables.
  • Pope Francis has been known to reject the opulence often associated with the Catholic Church, <a href="http://www.americamaga
    ALBERTO PIZZOLI via Getty Images
    Pope Francis has been known to reject the opulence often associated with the Catholic Church, saying, "A church that is truly faithful to the Lord -- he said -- must be humble, poor and trusting in God.”
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