Little engine that could: Pope coaxes Vatican to open railway to villa

Categories: Latest News

September 14, 2015

A historic train arrives in Castel Gandolfo, Italy, after leaving from the Vatican rail station during a special tour for journalists Sept. 11. The Vatican Museums and the Italian railway have partnered to offer train tours from the Vatican to Castel Gandolfo, site of the traditional papal summer villa. (CNS photo/Giampiero Sposito) See VATICAN LETTER Sept. 14, 2015.

A historic train arrives in Castel Gandolfo, Italy, after leaving from the Vatican rail station during a special tour for journalists Sept. 11. The Vatican Museums and the Italian railway have partnered to offer train tours from the Vatican to Castel Gandolfo, site of the traditional papal summer villa. (CNS photo/Giampiero Sposito)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis’ desire for a church whose doors are wide open isn’t just a metaphor for encouraging a greater spirit of welcoming.

He also has been giving real orders to Vatican staff to lift the locks on places and spaces that were long closed to the general public — the latest being the papal summer home in the hilltop town of Castel Gandolfo.

The head of the Vatican Museums, Antonio Paolucci, said the pope told him he did not want the rich botanical and architectural treasures of the papal gardens and villas to be wasted, especially since the pope had no intention of ever spending his summers there with “too much to do in Rome.”

Read more and watch video in The Visitor…