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Pope's summer palace opens to the public

21 ottobre 2016 | 19.10
LETTURA: 1 minuti

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The private papal apartments at the summer palace of Castelgandolfo will open to the public for the first time on Saturday, following a decision by Pope Francis, the Vatican announced.

On view are the Pope’s private library, his study, his chapel and his bedroom where during the Nazi occupation of World War II Jewish women gave birth whilst they were being secretly sheltered at the Palace by Pope Pius XII.

The frugal Francis decided not to used the 55-hectare estate overlooking Lake Albano outside Rome, which is similar to but smaller than some of Europe's royal residences.

The 20-room marble floored palace, which includes several buildings and elaborate Renaissance-style gardens, has a forest and a working dairy farm.

The Vatican has owned the estate since 1596 and many popes have used the hillside retreat to escape the summer heat in Rome.

Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI was the last pontiff to use the estate. After he resigned in February 2013, Benedict spent several months at Castel Gandolfo before moving into a newly renovated monastery in the Vatican Gardens where he still lives.

Francis judged the palace too luxurious and grand and has never spent a night there. During his pontificate he has preferred to stay at the Vatican and work through the summer.

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