The Pope arrived today in Bressanone, a city of 20,000 inhabitants in the province of Bolzano, where he will spend his summer holidays until Aug. 11.
Bishop Wilhelm Emil Egger of Bolzano-Bressanone welcomed the Pontiff at Bolzano's airport along with local authorities, reported Vatican Radio.
The Holy Father then proceeded to Bressanone's seminary, where he had often vacationed prior to his election to the papacy.
He was greeted by the sound of bells of the cathedral, and children singing in German, the language of the majority of the people of the area.
Benedict XVI appeared on the first floor of the seminary to greet those present: "Dear friends, I thank you for this welcome to Bressanone. In the past, we have spent many splendid vacations in this city.
"I hope that over these days, all of us together will be able to rest and, above all, to enjoy the beauty of the city and the beauty of creation."
The Holy Father plans on enjoying the company of his older brother, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, a priest and musician, who was a choir director at the cathedral of Regensburg, Germany.
During this period, the Pontiff is scheduled to hold just two public meetings: the praying of the midday Angelus on Aug. 3 and 10.
The vacation will also provide the Pope an opportunity to make progress on documents and books that he is writing. It is rumored that he will use the time to work on a third encyclical and the second part of his book, "Jesus of Nazareth."