Pope Francis foregoes papal summer retreat

In a further break from tradition, Pope Francis will forgo the traditional retreat to the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, located about 25km south-east of the capital. The announcement was made by the Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi who confirmed that during the pope's former role as archbishop of Buenos Aires he was not in the habit of taking summer holidays either.

The Argentinian pontiff plans to spend the summer based at the Vatican's S. Marta guesthouse in which he has resided since being installed as pope on 19 March. Francis surprised many at the time, and since, by not following in the footsteps of his predecessors and moving into the spacious papal apartments overlooking St Peter's Square. Indeed Fr Lombardi has said that the pope has no current plans to leave his significantly less grandiose suite at the guesthouse.

However Pope Francis will go to Castel Gandolfo at midday on 14 July to recite the Angelus but does not plan to spend the night there. Fr Lombardi has also confirmed that the four general audiences in the month of July will be suspended, resuming again on 7 August. Also in July, the pope is scheduled to make a week-long trip to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil on the occasion of World Youth Day from 23-28 July.

Traditionally it is the custom for popes to swap Rome's summer heat for the cooler air of the lakeside papal residence at Castelgondolfo. Every pope since the end of the second world war has summered there, as have a great many popes in the 400 summers since the papal retreat was built in the 17th-century for Urban VIII.

Following the resignation of Benedict XVI on 28 February, the Pope Emeritus moved to Castel Gandolfo for two months before moving into his new home, the Mater Eclessiae monastery in the Vatican Gardens, on 2 May.