Pope sends 15,000 ice creams to Rome prisoners

Prisoners cool down during the summer with gelato from the pope.

Pope Francis sent 15,000 ice creams to prisoners in two jails in Rome, the Vatican has announced, during Italy's record hot summer.

The pope's charity office said it "did not go on vacation" in the summer months, sending the vast amount of gelato to two Roman prisons - Regina Coeli in the Trastevere district and Rebibbia in the outskirts of the capital.

Keeping to an annual tradition, the Vatican charity office also took "small groups of homeless people, or those housed in shelters" to the sea or the lake, at Castel Gandolfo, "for an afternoon of relaxation and a dinner in a pizzeria."

The person in charge of the charity office is the 57-year-old Polish cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the pope's apostolic almsgiver, or Papal Almoner.

Under Pope Francis, the almsgiver has played an increasingly hands-on role in helping the city's poor, with medical facilities and showers installed for the homeless at St Peter's Square.

More recently the charity office has offered free covid tests and vaccinations to the poor.