Pope opens papal residence to tourists

Vatican Museum director calls it 'sign of the times'

(ANSA) - Vatican City, September 11 - Vatican Museums Director Antonio Paolucci on Friday said that Pope Francis's decision to open the pontifical villas of Castel Gandolfo to the public is a "sign of the times" and a clear reflection of his papal politics.
    Paolucci said Pope Francis met with him to request the initiative, which will bring the first tourists by train on Saturday.
    "The Pope told me, 'I don't go to Castel Gandolfo because I have too much to do in Rome, but I don't want these riches, this beauty, to be closed. Make plans to open them," Paolucci said, adding that Pope Francis is "informed on everything" including Friday's inaugural journey by steam train and Saturday's opening to the public.
    Paolucci said Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI may continue to use Castel Gandolfo for summer holidays, but the areas open to tourists are far from Benedict's living quarters, so the tourist visits "won't interfere at all" with Benedict's holidays.
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