A former nunnery set within the stone walls of theis being extensively refurbished by workers in preparation for the arrival of , who steps down as Pope and head of the worlds 1.2 billion Catholics on Thursday.
The 85-year-old German pontiffs decision to live out the rest of his days just a few hundred yards from where his successor will guide the crisis-hit Church has thrown up some highly awkward questions for the Holy See.
Will the ex-Pope interfere in his replacements affairs? How will they greet each other when they bump into each other in the Vatican gardens or anywhere else in the tiny sovereign nation? And will Benedict become a sort of shadow Pope, his presence looming large over the new papacy?RECOMMENDED:
Vatican officials insist that Benedict plans to adopt a quiet life of prayer and reflection and that he will not meddle in the affairs of the Holy See.
But at his last ever Sunday address today, Benedict assured 100,000 people crowding St Peters Square that he would not be abandoning the Church.