Domus Santa Marta

Pope Forgoes Summer Holidays

Religion News Service photo by Francis X. Rocca.

Castel Gandolfo, located 15 miles south of Rome, has been a summer palace for popes since 1624.

Breaking with another centuries-old tradition established by his predecessors, Pope Francis will remain in Rome during the summer and endure the usually stifling heat of the Eternal City.

The Vatican’s chief spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, announced on Thursday that the pope will not move to the papal villa of Castel Gandolfo, where previous popes usually spent at least part of the summer.

The villa, boasting expansive gardens, a working farm, and a private helipad, was a favorite retreat of Francis’ predecessor, Benedict XVI, who used to spend three months there, from early July to the end of September.