.- Yesterday, during an informal meeting, Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls gave journalists an inside look at the day-to-day life of the Pope on his vacation in Italy’s northern alps this week.
Navarrro-Valls described the vacation, being spent in Les Combes, in the Valle d’Aosta region of Italy, which stretches from July 11th to the 28th, as "a real holiday, but a working holiday."
He said that after celebrating Mass and eating breakfast each day, the Holy Father reads the breviary before retiring to his room to write. "I would not say he is writing an Encyclical," Navarro-Valls said, which could suggest that the Holy Father is working on a new book.
In the afternoon, he added, the Pope usually takes a walk around the local area. On Saturday, returning home, he paused to greet some of the locals.
Pope Benedict’s chalet, which is situated on the property of the Salesians, is the same one in which John Paul II used to stay. "Everything has remained as it was," said Navarro-Valls, save the piano which has been placed in the study. The Pope loves music and "over these days I have heard him play Mozart", the press office director added.
Yesterday evening, the Pope made a special visit to a museum dedicated to John Paul II located some 500 meters from the chalet in which he is staying. Inaugurated in 1996, the museum is a unique collection of personal objects used by John Paul II during his holidays in the alpine mountains. It also houses many photographs of the late Pontiff including pictures of him enjoying his beloved mountains.
Navarro-Valls added that before returning home for the evening, the Holy Father paused briefly at a small nearby hermitage to spend some time in prayer.