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The Quirinal Palace was once a cardinal's vineyard...

(Vatican Radio) On Thursday 14th of November Pope Francis went on his first official visit to the Italian President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano. The last such visit on the part of a Roman Pontiff took place in June 2005 when Benedict XVI, now Pope Emeritus, drove up to the Quirinal hill for the second time in his pontificate. By doing so he was following in the footsteps of a string of predecessors to the See of Peter.
For the record the first time a Pope returned to the Quirinal, to cross the threshold of what was until 1870 a papal residence was Pius XII in 1939, when Italy was still a monarchy and the king was Victor Emmanuel III. In fact the first pope to pay a courtesy visit to Italian authorities after the birth of the Italian Republic was John XXIII, who met with President Antonio Segni on May11,1963.
Located on the highest of Rome’s seven hills, the building of the Quirinal Palace began in 1573. First commissioned by Gregory XIII as a summer residence for the popes, over the years it became home to a number of popes. That’s until 1870 when it became the residence of the Kings of Italy, following events that brought an end to the Papal States and the beginning of a time when popes became prisoners in the Vatican of their own will. A situation which ended in 1929 with the signing of the Lateran Pacts between Italy and the Holy See..
Set in a site so stunning that even the Emperor Napoleon elected it as his residence in 1809, forcing the pope of the time Pius VII into a French exile, the Quirinal Palace was identified earlier still by some of the Princes of the Church.
Among them Cardinal Oliviero Carafa who planted a vineyard in the grounds of the villa he used as his country seat, as historian Stella Fletcher is about to tell you in her series ‘Tales of Scarlet’. Join her as she stands not by the Qurinal Palace but by this Renaissance cardinal's town palace near Piazza Navona: ...“Oliviero Carafa was one of the most respected cardinal of his day. Now those people who are interested in the scandals associated with the Renaissance cardinals consistently overlook Carafa because he is scandal free.. He was made a cardinal by Paul II in 1457 but didn’t die until 1511. And indeed in a number of occasions people thought he might get the papacy. In fact had a man like Carafa been made pope the reputation of Renaissance popes might have been rather different…”
Listen to this programme produced by Veronica Scarisbrick: RealAudioMP3


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