CNS PHOTO | ALESSANDRO BIANCHI, REUTERS
Pope Benedict gives a blessing as he leads his Angelus prayer at his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, Italy, July 10.
Pope Benedict officially began his summer vacation July 7, taking a helicopter from the Vatican to the hilltop town of Castel Gandolfo, less than 25 km south of Rome.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said the pope plans to prepare his speeches for World Youth Day in Madrid in August and for a trip to Germany in September.
He also wants to continue working on the third and final volume of his Jesus of Nazareth series.
Lombardi said the pope, who has already begun writing the third volume, expects it to be shorter than the first two and "a bit different in nature and approach."
It will cover Jesus' infancy and childhood, for which there is little information in the Gospels.