Considered by many to be one of Italy’s most scenic towns, the quiet hamlet of Castel Gandolfo is located in the Alban Hills overlooking Lake Albano. With fewer than 10,000 people calling this quaint village home, Castel Gandolfo offers travelers a picturesque escape from some of the country’s larger, more urban destinations. The place is so popular among locals in search of the serene that even the pope vacations in this beautiful resort town.
Travelers will find idyllic summer villas and cottages—some dating back to the 17th century—in addition to some remarkable religious architecture, like the iconic Church of Our Lady of the Lake. It’s possible to visit the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo, where the pope spends his summers, as well as the Vatican Observatory. Castel Gandolfo is also home to ancient religious ruins, a former castle and a stunning hidden natural bath inside a darkened cave.