Castel Gandolfo

The ruins of Domitian’s Villa

The Pontifical Villa - which belonged to the Barberini family and then to the Holy See after the Lateran Treaty in 1929 - extends over a park of 55 hectares and includes part of the structure of Domitian's Villa (81-96 AD).

Inside, there is an important Antiquarium Museum (onsite archaeological museum) with seven rooms containing collections of high quality works, mostly coming from the imperial Villa, the theatre and the so-called Ninfeo Bergantino or Ninfeo di Diana (excavations in 1841).

Of particular interest inside are the remarkable pavements in opus spicatu belonging to the Roman villa, pieces of historical reliefs from the Domitian Age (room I), various types of material from Domitian’s private theatre (room II and III – the ruins of the theatre are still visible in the park), a beautiful collection of athletic statues (room IV) and statues discovered in the Ninfeo Bergantino, situated on the banks of Lake Albano and inspired by Tiberio’s cave at Sperlonga (in particular the remains of the sculptured group illustrating the blinding of Polyphemus and Scylla – room V and VI) and various pieces of a sculptures originating from the Pontifical Villa area (room VII).


The Vatican gardens are currently closed; the reopening is scheduled for spring 2024. For further information, please take a look at the following articles (in Italian):