Fodor's Expert Review Giardini Vaticani
Neatly trimmed lawns and flower beds extend over the hills behind St. Peter's Basilica, an area dotted with some interesting constructions and other, duller ones that serve as office buildings. The Vatican Gardens occupy almost 40 acres of land on the Vatican hill. They include a formal Italian garden, a flowering French garden, a romantic English landscape, and a small forest. There's also the little-used Vatican railroad station, which now houses a museum of coins and stamps made in the Vatican, and the Torre di San Giovanni (Tower of St. John), restored by Pope John XXIII as a retreat for work and now used as a residence for distinguished guests. To visit the gardens, join a two-hour guided walking tour or a 45-minute open-bus tour (no stops). Garden visits must be booked online.