SUMMER RESIDENCE PAP
Yes, the Vatican is a phenomenon so uncommon that the impression of his visit not only does not fade with time, but is shaped in a special way and remains with you to live. Especially, if the guide magnetism is added to the place magnetism. It so happened that the Vatican “brought together” two polar professionals: the worst and the best.
Wonderful guide was the reward of those who went to the Summer Residence of the Popes, the town of Castel Gandolfo. Located on the Alban hills above Lake Albano, it is quite small: a population of about 10 thousand people.
Lake Albano is great, and this place was chosen for relaxation by noble Romans. Even emperors had a villa here and lived: Domitian, Adrian, Marcus Aurelius. And, according to the legend, this is the birthplace of the founders of Rome, Romulus and Rem. I did not see evidence of this, but the presence of the ancient bust of Caligula on the street is documented.
The first Pope, who chose an old castle here in the 16th century, was Clement VIII. He was restored by another Pope, Urban VIII, and already in the 17th century. From that time on, Castel Gandolfo became the unofficial Summer Residence of the Popes. And in 1929, when the Vatican signed an agreement with Mussolini and became a “state within a state,” the residence became official and closed to the public.
Therefore, having arrived here, we enjoyed, above all, the Italian colorful, “juicy” outback and the most interesting story about the Vatican and its Popes.
Moreover, the time was significant: April 2013. More recently, in February, voluntarily renounced the dignity and position of Pope Benedict XVI. Yes, the Pope is the head and symbol of the Catholic faith, but also the chief administrator of the city-state. And the Vatican is not only the world’s largest complex of museums with the most beautiful gardens in Europe, but also educational institutions, shops, gas stations, a library, a radio station, a post office, a pharmacy, a railway, a guard and even its own fire department! How it all fits on an area of 44 hectares – I can not say so!
So, the Pope is a life title, which only death can take away. And for the more than 2000-year history of the Pap Institute, for all possible reasons (including violent), they resigned only 10 times during their lifetime! And voluntarily – and even less: 6. The last time it happened 600 years ago, in 1415. Therefore, the abdication of Benedict XVI was a thunderbolt for all. And although it is now believed that the reason was the state of health of the 86-year-old pontiff, in April 2013 they were still at a loss. The Vatican was led by the new Pope, Francis I, and since the situation with Benedict was incomprehensible, he was sent to the Summer Residence, to Castel Gandolfo.
It was behind the opened curtain of this balcony with bulletproof glass that it flashed before us! In any case, everyone wanted to believe in it … So, after leaving the Vatican, I was much closer to the Pope, even though the former. By the way, the new Pope, Francis, met his predecessor here, visiting the Summer Residence for the first and last time.
What we could see then – the small square, the palace and the fountain by Bernini, were not very impressed after the papal altar and the heads of the apostles in St. Peter’s.
But in 2016, Francis I, a supporter of a modest lifestyle (“the church must be poor”), officially refused the Summer Residence, proposing to make it a museum. And now everyone who comes to Castel Gandolfo will have access to the amazing gardens of Villa Barberini and Levantine, and indeed the whole papal palace: from the Throne Hall to the strict cabinet and ascetic bedroom. And do not miss the opportunity to see all the pontiffs at once (and there are already more than 260 of them) in the gallery of portraits of the Popes.
And it is necessary to come here, because the Summer Residence was a part of the Vatican for more than 400 years, and it is connected with it by railway: from the Vatican Station a train goes here, which previously only Pope traveled!
And then the impression of the Vatican will be complete. And for sure – emotionally paying off all financial costs. I think – even many times …