Popes’ Palace (Palazzo dei Papi) Tours and Activities
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The Gothic Popes’ Palace (Palazzo dei Papi) was built for the popes who lived in Viterbo for a brief period in the mid-13th century. The palace’s elegant arched Loggia delle Benedizione is where newly elected pontiffs would greet the faithful after emerging from the Aula del Conclave, site of the first (and longest) papal conclave.
Overlooking the handsome Piazza San Lorenzo, Palazzo dei Papi is one of Viterbo’s highlights, along with Palazzo dei Priori, the city’s Romanesque cathedral, and the medieval neighborhood of San Pellegrino. Visit from Rome or as part of a longer day trip that includes stops at Lake Bolsena, Civita di Bagnoregio, and Orvieto. Purchase a skip-the-line ticket in advance, and learn about the history and architecture of the palace.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Art enthusiasts will especially appreciate the palace’s richly frescoed Sala Gualterio, recently opened to the public.
- Tickets include an audio guide to the palace and entrance to the Museo Colle del Duomo, which houses art and antiquities on the opposite side of Piazza San Lorenzo.
- The palace isn’t wheelchair-accessible.
How to Get There
Viterbo is located north of Rome in the Lazio countryside, and can be reached by car or train.
When to Get There
A charmingly quiet town, Viterbo is a refreshing respite from the chaos of Rome in the crowded summer months. Go on a mild, clear day to enjoy strolling the medieval center.
The History of Palazzo dei Papi
The palace was built by Pope Alexander IV in 1257 when he transferred the headquarters of the Papal Curia to Viterbo from Rome. Apparently, in 1271 the College of Cardinals still hadn’t elected a successor to Clement IV, who had died three years earlier. To speed up the deliberations, the residents of Viterbo locked the cardinals in the Aula del Conclave with nothing but bread and water. The cardinals quickly settled on Pope Gregory X.
Address: Piazza San Lorenzo, 1/8, Viterbo, Lazio 01100, Italy
2 Tours and Activities to Experience Popes’ Palace (Palazzo dei Papi)
Wind your way through the history and architecture of the medieval hilltop town of Viterbo on this self-guided GPS audio tour. From Porta Romana we'll make our way back in time through the city's charming and historic center. Along the way we'll take in ancient fountains, majestic piazzas and palaces. I will tell you stories of the people and point out details, hidden courtyards and corners. Viterbo was a papal town where popes lived in the 13th century and where the first conclave was held. We will explore the San Pellegrino medieval quarter, one of the best preserved in Europe. Finally, we'll conclude the tour at the Porta San Pietro, the medieval entrance to the town. Come discover Viterbo's tales and secrets with me.
Discover the history and architecture of the medieval city of Viterbo. From Porta Romana we will go back in time through the fascinating historical center of the city. Along the way we will visit ancient fountains, majestic squares and palaces. I will tell you stories of people and show you details, courtyards and hidden corners.
Price varies by group size
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures
Face masks required for travelers in public areas
Face masks required for guides in public areas
Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What's the best way to experience Popes’ Palace (Palazzo dei Papi)?
The best ways to experience Popes’ Palace (Palazzo dei Papi) are:
- Secrets of Viterbo: Explore this medieval hilltop town on a walking audio tour
- Viterbo Private Walking Tour
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