Children presented Pope Benedict XVI with flowers as he arrived at Introd, a town in the Aosta Valley region of north western Italy, to begin his summer vacation.
He'll spend 16 days in Les Combes of Introd.
As the Vatican Information Service shared:
As he did in 2005 and 2006, the Pope will stay in a chalet belonging to the Salesian Order, the same as that in which John Paul II often 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 1200 meters and has views over Mont Blanc and other mountains on the French-Italian frontier as well as over the Italian-Swiss Alps.
The Holy Father has always made a note of pointing out the importance of holidays. Here are some excerpts from talks he's given as Pontiff regarding the topic:
I hope everyone, especially those in greatest need, will be able to take a bit of vacation to restore their physical and spiritual energy and recover a healthy contact with nature. The mountains call to mind in particular the spirit's ascent towards the heavens, its uplifting towards the "high standard" of our humanity, which daily life unfortunately tends to debase. (Angelus, July 8th 2007)
The holiday period is without a doubt a practical time for taking up the biography and writings of a particular Saint but every day of the year affords us an opportunity to familiarize ourselves with our heavenly Patrons. (General Audience, August 20th 2008)
I hope that you who are already on holiday will take advantage of the summer break for useful social and religious experiences. I hope that you, dear sick people, will find comfort and relief in the closeness of your relatives and to you, dear newly-weds, I address the invitation to use this summer period to consider ever more deeply the value of your mission in the Church and in society. (General Audience, June 18th 2008)
The vacation period affords unique opportunities for reflection as we face the stirring views of nature, a marvellous "book" within the reach of everyone, adults or children. In contact with nature, individuals rediscover their proper dimension, they recognize that they are creatures but at the same time unique, "capable of God" since they are inwardly open to the Infinite. Driven by the heartfelt need for meaning that urges them onwards, they perceive the mark of goodness and divine Providence in the world that surrounds them and open themselves almost spontaneously to praise and prayer. (Angelus, July 17th 2005)
I hope that everyone will be able to live serenely a few days of well-earned rest and relaxation and I would like to address an appeal for prudence to those who are setting out for their various vacation sites. Every day, unfortunately, especially on the weekend, road accidents are recorded with so many human lives tragically cut short, and more than half the victims are young people. (Angelus, June 26th 2005)
The holidays also afford a precious opportunity to spend more time with relatives, to visit family and friends, in a word, to give more space to those human contacts whose desired cultivation is impeded by the rhythm of daily duties.
Certainly, not everyone can take advantage of vacation time and many must bypass it for various motives. I think in a particular way of those who are alone, of the elderly and the sick who often experience solitude even more during this time. To these our brothers and sisters, I would like to manifest my spiritual closeness, heartily wishing that none of them lack the support and comfort of friendly people.
For many, vacation time becomes a profitable occasion for cultural contacts, for prolonged moments of prayer and of contemplation in contact with nature or in monasteries and religious structures. Having more free time, one can dedicate oneself more easily to conversation with God, meditation on Sacred Scripture and reading some useful, formative book.
Those who experience this spiritual repose know how useful it is not to reduce vacations to mere relaxation and amusement.
Faithful participation in the Sunday Eucharistic celebration helps one to feel a living part of the Ecclesial Community even when one is outside his or her own parish. Wherever we find ourselves, we always need to be nourished by the Eucharist. (Angelus, August 13th 2006)
Pope Benedict will still offer the Angelus during vacation, but will not have General Audiences. At the end of his vacation, the Pontiff will travel 30kms south of Rome to the Papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo where he will stay until the end of September. Also at the end of September, from the 26th to 28th, he will make his 13th Papal Voyage, a visit to the Czech Republic.