Image from the ‘Castel Gandolfo 1944’ Exhibit in the Papal Palace 

By Deborah Castellano Lubov

Feb 22 2024

Ahead of International Women’s Day on Mar 8, the Vatican Museums and the Pontifical Villas of Castel Gandolfo announce plans to celebrate women who have greatly impacted history, society, and art, and those who have left their mark at Castel Gandolfo’s Pontifical Villas during the Second World War.

Once again this year, the Vatican Museums, and the affiliated Pontifical Villas at Castel Gandolfo, are participating in the celebrations of International Women’s Day.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Museums announced the creation of an original themed guided tour, offered on Mar 7 – 8, to highlight the “creative gaze” and “tender heart” which Pope Francis has recalled as a distinctly feminine prerogative. 

From St Mary Magdalene to the Blessed Mother

Tour participants will be led to the Vatican Pinacoteca and the Sistine Chapel to admire pictorial representations of numerous women figures who, due to their uniqueness, have left an indelible mark on history, society, and art, some of whom include St Mary Magdalene, St Catherine of Siena, St Scholastica, and the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The visit is open to everyone, including families with children (recommended age 6+). 

Guided tours, available in Italian and English, are fully accessible to people with sensory, motor, and intellectual disabilities, and can be reserved at the email address: accessibilita.musei@scv.va.

Returning to the women in Castel Gandolfo during WWII

With the same spirit, the related-Castel Gandolfo Pontifical Villas will be celebrating and “honoring” all female audiences, with a promotional entrance fee of 8 Euro.

The special offer is extended to all women and is valid throughout the weekend, on Friday, Mar 8 and Saturday, Mar 9, from 9 am to 5:30 pm, with last entry at 4:00 pm; and on Sunday, Mar 10, from 10 am to 6:30 pm, with last entry at 5:00 pm.

Visitors, as well as their companions, can explore and admire, whether independently or with a guide, the solemn spaces of the Papal Palace, including its Historical Collections, the Pontifical Apartment, and the new museum spaces, recently inaugurated by the historical-documentary exhibition “Castel Gandolfo 1944.”

Mothers, girls, nuns, newborns who ‘exceptionally’ stayed 

Thanks also to the intense and emotional female testimonies, in audio and video, and the numerous photographs depicting mothers, nuns, girls, and newborns on the occasion of their “exceptional” stay in the Pontifical Villas during the Second World War, the exhibition takes on a strong symbolic significance. 

At the end of the tour, visitors can continue their outdoor itinerary in the Garden of the Moor and the Secret Garden before finally being enchanted by the panoramic view of Lake Albano.

Tickets cannot be reserved in advance for this venue.

The promotion is only available on-site, by presenting yourself at the ticket office of the Castel Gandolfo Vatican Museum-affiliated site present in Piazza della Libertà in Castel Gandolfo. – Vatican News