The gardens of the papal residence, called the Barberini Gardens, were opened to the public in 2014 as a way to increase revenue for the town, which thrived on tourism brought by visitors who had come to see the Pope during his stay.
For Benedict XVI, the villa was a favorite summer getaway during his pontificate. It was conceded to the Holy See as one of their extraterritorial possessions under the Lateran Pact of 1929.
Following major restoration efforts, the villa has served as the papal summer residence since the pontificate of Urban VIII during the 17th century. It has a small farm created by Pope Pius XI, which produces eggs, milk, oil, vegetables and honey either for local employees, or for sale in the Vatican supermarket.
Popes up until Benedict XVI used the residence as a summer getaway. However, it has been empty since the election of Pope Francis, who prefers to spend his summers in Rome.
The residence was officially presented to journalists Oct. 21, in the company of Antonio Paolucci, the Director of the Pontifical Villa Osvaldo Gianoli, and the Curator of the Historical Collections of the Vatican Museums Sandro Barbagallo.
Tours of the papal residence, Set to coincide with the opening and closing hours of the Apostolic Palace itself, includes a visit to the Swiss Hall where the Pope's personal guards, the Swiss Guard, kept watch round the clock. Other stops include the Throne Room, the Consistory Hall, the Bedroom of the Holy Father and Library, the Private Study and its attached private chapel.