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March 28, 2010

Italy’s Best Offers VIP Tours of the Vatican Gardens

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

Rome, Italy – Reported by Elite Traveler, the Private Jet Lifestyle Magazine

Experience Saint Peters as never seen before! From nowhere else in Rome is there a better view of Michelangelo’s dome than from the Vatican gardens, the oldest such gardens in Europe. And now elite tour operator Italy’s Best can get select guests a private tour of these most sacred grounds.

Here, where each Pope has had his favorite place for walking and meditating, nature is at its most luxuriant and care for detail reigns supreme, Italian, French and English gardens shimmer in the diaphanous water jets of the fountains. The most Majestic is the Aquilone, from the early seventeenth century. Cascades and rivulets form a perfect setting for the fifteenth century villa of Pius IV, home to delightful turtles swimming there undisturbed. In giant nests high in the trees live a company of around 300 parrots, providing colour and sound amid the silent enchantment of this botanical jewel.

The atmosphere is peaceful, discreet and silent, however do not be misled. Anything but “outside time” the Vatican Gardens teem with life. First of all is the scrupulous work done by the Poor Clares who cultivate the kitchen garden and produce the vegetables served at the Pope’s table. History, tradition and modernity meet in the heliport, built by Paul VI and used by pontiffs on brief journeys and heads of state visiting the Holy Father. Then there is the railway station, built between 1929 and 1932 and defined by Pope Pius XI as “the most beautiful in the world”. No longer open to the public the station is now used only on special occasions. One of the most recent times was on 8 November 1979 when Pope John Paul II came to the station to welcome the railwaymen in the course of the XXI Railway Workers Day. In the late eighties the salon became the Goods Office and was divided in two to make room for the Philatelic and Numismatic Museum on the first floor. Today the station building is home to the commercial heart of Vatican City. Another example of how tradition and modernity meet in the Vatican is the Vatican Radio station, opened in 1929, just after the Lateran Accords. It was Pope Pius XI who commissioned Guglielmo Marconi to build a radio station inside the new Vatican State in order to communicate with Catholics the world over and in countries where totalitarian regimes prohibited the freedom of the Catholic Church. On 12 February 1931 Pope Pius XI himself inaugurated the station with a speech in Latin which aroused emotion world wide.

History and culture from the past and the present day meet also in the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, founded in 1936 by Pope Pius XI with the aim of promoting progress in mathematics, physics and natural sciences.

Only by reaching the heart of something is it possible to perceive the real essence. The unique experience of a visit to the Vatican gardens is a chance to enter into the heart of the Vatican State and discover the secrets of an ancient world fully up to date with the modernity of our times.

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