At 10.30 a.m. today, Benedict XVI left Rome by plane and, following an hour-long flight, arrived at the airport of Saint Christophe in the Valle d’Aosta region of northwestern Italy. He then travelled by car to the residence of Les Combes where he will spend a 17-day vacation.

As he did last year, the Pope will stay in a chalet belonging to the Salesian Order, the same as that in which John Paul II also used to spend his holidays. The building, made of wood and stone, has two floors and is surrounded by a large garden. It stands at an altitude of 1,200 meters and has views over Mont Blanc and other mountains on the French-Italian frontier as well as over the Italian-Swiss Alps.

The only two public ceremonies the Pope is due to attend during his vacation are scheduled for July 16 and 23, when he will pray the Angelus from the house in which he is staying. Access to this event is open to everyone, says a communique from the diocese of Aosta, and all those wishing to do so may go to Les Combes to hear the Holy Father and pray with him.

Benedict XVI will stay at Les Combes – located some 20 kilometers from the city of Aosta within the municipality of Introd – until July 28.

Following his vacation in Valle d’Aosta, the Pope will move to his summer residence of Castelgandolfo, 30 kilometers south of Rome, where he will remain until the end of September.

The Pope’s next apostolic trip, the fourth since the start of his pontificate, will take him to Germany from September 9 to 14.

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