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17 August 2017 | by Christopher Lamb

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The heatwave that has been suffocating Rome for much of the summer is slowly beginning to ease off. Temperatures have been pushing 40C, which, combined with a stifling humidity, have made life in the Eternal City unbearable. Many residents fled the heat for cooler climes. Those unable to get away and without air conditioning spend the days indoors with their windows firmly shuttered to keep the sun out. 

Pope Francis has taken refuge from the heat in his air-conditioned Vatican residence, the Casa Santa Marta. He has been following a reduced public schedule, using the spare time for reading, prayer and listening to music. His alarm clock, which normally goes off at 4.45 a.m., has been set a little later so the 80-year-old Pope can have a bit of a lie-in. His aides have given up trying to get him to leave his place of work and to take a proper holiday.


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