Giant Christmas tree from Poland heads for Vatican
A 25-metre Christmas tree from Poland that is a gift to Pope Francis is heading towards the Vatican.
After a sometimes tortuous journey by road, the spruce from the Romincka forest in north-east Poland has reached the Italian Alps.
The tree, a present from the Polish State Forests authority, can be transported only at night due to its size.
It has travelled over 1,500 km so far, negotiating numerous twists and turns, roundabouts, narrow roads and other obstacles and is on the last straight to St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican, said Jarosław Krawczyk, a spokesman for Poland’s State Forests.
"The Christmas tree is in good shape, which means that nothing has happened to this giant and precious cargo," he added.
Lights on the Christmas tree will be switched on at St. Peter’s Square on December 7, with Pope Francis to take part in the ceremony.
It will be the second time a Christmas tree from a Polish forest will stand in St. Peter’s Square.
Twenty years ago, a spruce from the southern Polish mountain resort of Zakopane was erected there. It was a gift expressing thanks by Polish highlanders to Pope John Paul II for a pilgrimage to his native Poland.