AROUND THE BEND

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Vatican Veggies

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Recently the Pope Francis, aka Jorge Mario Bergoglio, has come into the spotlight with his farm. The farm is located in the hills of rural Rome, about an hour drive from the Vatican. This is also his summer residence named Castel Gandolfo, and is located on 136 acres. Out of those, 62 are used for farming. On his farm, he produces cheese, milk, yogurts, eggs, cucumbers, carrots, zucchini, and over 1,000 olive trees among other things. In 2014, the Obama’s gifted Pope Francis with seeds that are now being cultivated. The first farm specifically for a Pope was created in 1929 by Pope Pius XI. Recently, the farm has been opened up to visitors for tours.
In early 2015, the farm was made accessible to the public. In previous years, people were not allowed on the property, but now are able to take tours and purchase produce grown on the farm. Every Saturday morning, citizens of surrounding towns flock to the state supermarket to buy the foods grown on holy land. One of the most popular foods consumed by these townsfolk is the unpasteurized milk, produced by the herd of dairy cows kept on the farm. Later on, a set of donkeys were introduced into the group as a gift, the pope grew up on fresh donkey milk and enjoyed the present.
As for being a tourist, the city makes attending the farm as easy as possible. They provide a shuttle train on the Vatican’s private railways to transport visitors to and from the farm. After the short train ride of 984 feet, making it the world’s shortest national railway, a shuttle bus picks up the travelers and takes them to the estate. There are many sights to see including, the ruins of Emperor Domitian’s summer residence, the Papal Gardens, along with the miles of rose and magnolia orchards. Tourists walk around the farm and end up in a market where they can purchase the goods grown on the lands.
In the future, I would like to take a tour of the Vatican and the farm. I believe that it could be an interesting school trip to take over a summer. While in Europe, students could tour other parts of history like the Colosseum. I hope that I can go sometime soon, preferably before college or do a study abroad program to travel the world and study.

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