Virtual Pilgrimage | Day 7 - Castel Gandolfo
Yesterday morning our coach took us one hour outside of Rome to the Castelli Romani to the small town of Castel Gandolfo where we visited the Papal Palace where the popes have traditionally spent the summer months. The hills of the Castelli mountains provide a respite from the summer heat in Rome. One side of the town overlooks a beautiful lake that formed in the crater of an extinct volcano, and on the other side one can see the ocean. The popes first started coming to Castel Gandolfo in the 1600’s to a palace that originally belonged to the Barberini family. In addition to the summer residence where the pope continued to offer the traditional Angelus blessing on Sunday's at 12 noon from the balcony overlooking the small town square, the property also included extensive papal gardens built over the ancient ruins of the Emperor Domition's summer palace. There are trees along the walkway that are 300 years old and the oldest of them all is 800 years. You can view the ruins of a first century amphitheater and covered walkway in addition to the sculpted gardens. We saw the building where Pope Paul VI died in August of 1978. Pope Francis has decided to remain in Rome throughout the summer as he enjoys the presence and company of other people. Aware that the property at the summer residence was not being utilized with the resulting negative affect on the local economy, Pope Francis decided to open up these papal gardens to visitors for the first time in history.
We celebrated Mass in the Church of St. Thomas in the center of town and then broke for some time for lunch and shopping. On the way back into Rome we drove up the Gianicolo Hill for a panoramic view of the city of Rome. After returning to the hotel we enjoyed an evening meal together followed by walks for gelato.
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St. Mary's Parish ~ 20 Summer Street ~ Shrewsbury, MA
on Wednesday, October 12, 2016 at 1:47AM