.- Pope Benedict XVI is finalizing his travel plans for the upcoming year — which so far include a three-day visit to his homeland and another to the African country of Benin.
The Vatican has announced that the Pope plans to visit his homeland of Germany in a state visit, Sept. 22-25. No itinerary has been finalized but officials say he will visit three cities — Berlin, Freiburg and Erhfurt.
In addition to Germany, the Pope has a trip scheduled to Croatia, June 4-5. He will head to Spain Aug. 18-21, where he will lead celebrations for World Youth Day. His visit to Benin will come near the end of the year, Nov. 18-20.
The Pope is also planning several apostolic visits inside Italy in 2011. He will visit Aquileia and Venice, May 7-8. On June 19 he will travel to Montefeltro and the Republic of San Marino. On Sept. 11 he will go to Ancona for the National Eucharistic Congress, and Oct. 9 he will travel to Lamezia Terme and Serra San Bruno.