Pope Benedict XVI will meet with President George W. Bush in a restored medieval tower on Friday. Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said the unusual venue was chosen to repay Bush for “the cordiality of the meeting at the White House” during the Pope’s U.S. visit in April.
Although the Pope usually receives heads of state in his private study in the Apostolic Palace, overlooking St. Peter’s Square, the upcoming meeting will take place on the upper deck of St. John’s tower, a round structure on a hilltop inside the Vatican gardens.
The tower, which Pope John XXIII restored the tower as a place he could work in peace, is sometimes used as a residence for important guests.
After their private talks, President Bush and Pope Benedict will walk in the gardens to see a statue of the Madonna.
President Bush will be in Rome from Wednesday until Friday. He will also tour Slovenia, Germany, Italy, France and Britain.