The Vatican Observatory and the Vatican Museums are developing a visitors’ center within the Papal Summer Villa Gardens in Castel Gandolfo.
Originally scheduled to be open in 2020, the recent pandemic has obviously delayed this opening, but we are hopeful that this might be available for public visits by the end of 2022. This will include access to two historic telescopes, a display of antique and contemporary astronomical equipment, an exhibit of astronomically themed artwork, and other special exhibits.
The hope is that groups of 25 or so might also be able to make arrangements to use the historic and recently restored 1891 Carte du Ciel telescope after dark.
Currently, tours of the Papal Summer Villa Gardens and the Apostolic Palace in Castel Gandolfo – the Palace hosted the Vatican Observatory from 1935 until 2009 – are offered through the Vatican Museums. However, these tours do not include visits to any of the observatory facilities, though the exteriors of some telescope domes are visible during the tours.
To know more please visit the Pontifical Villas at Castel Gandolfo section of the Vatican Museums website.