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Castel Gandolfo (Lazio)
Castel Gandolfo is a town located 25 kilometres southeast of Rome in the Lazio region. Occupying a height on the Alban Hills overlooking Lake Albano, Castel Gandolfo is considered one of Italy's most scenic towns. Within the town's boundaries lies the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo which served as a summer residence and vacation retreat for the pope, the leader of the Catholic Church. Although the palace is located within the borders of Castel Gandolfo, it had extraterritorial status as one of the properties of the Holy See and was not under Italian jurisdiction. It is now open as a museum. The resort community includes almost the whole coastline of Lake Albano which is surrounded by many summer residences, villas, and cottages built during the 17th century. It houses the Stadio Olimpico that staged the rowing events during the Rome Olympics. Castel Gandolfo has several places of archaeological interest including the Emissario del Lago Albano and the remains of the Villa of Domitian. The area is included within the boundaries of the Parco Regionale dei Castelli Romani (Regional Park of Castelli Romani). There are also many points of artistic interest, such as the Collegiate Church of St. Thomas of Villanova, designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.