Pope Benedict XVI's resignation became official Thursday, and he's already settling in at his temporary post-Vatican home, Reuters reported. He's getting cozy at the pope's summer home in Castel Gandolfo, a small town of 8,000 residents south of Rome. He'll stay at the Apostolic Palace, which has been the vacation home for sitting popes for nearly 400 years. Benedict will be there for a few weeks while the renovation of his permanent home, the Mater Ecclesiae just outside the Vatican, is completed.
The Apostolic Palace is a grand complex that beats the size of Vatican City by 400,000 square feet. (Hmm, does this jibe with Benedict's final message to the faithful, in which he called himself a "simple pilgrim"?) It has gorgeous landscaped gardens, natural conservatories, museums and fishponds. More than half of the estate is comprised of the gardens, which is where popes are known to spend a lot of time reflecting. There are also 25 cattle on the premises, said to produce the best milk that you can find in Europe. It's also home to the Vatican Observatory.
Benedict should feel right at home: Records show that he has spent about five weeks a year at the Apostolic Palace since becoming pope in 2005, NBC News reported.
Though popes have been using the gigantic home as a getaway for centuries, the Vatican didn't formally take control of Castel Gandolfo until 1929. The deal was done as part of the Lateran Treaty, which cemented relations between Italy and Vatican City. So, wanna see how Benedict is living for the next few weeks? NBC News took a tour, which you can see in the video below.
See also: Convent of Mater Ecclesiae: Pope Benedict's Home After Stepping Down (VIDEO)
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