Pope Benedict XVI will receive a €2,500-a-month pension when he abdicates at the end of February and adopts the more modest title of Emeritus Bishop of Rome.
For an ex-ruler of the Holy City and head of the Roman Catholic Church, the sum might not seem excessive. But readers' comments on Italian websites were soon asking how Benedict would spend the income given that all his needs, from catering to gardeners, would be provided.
And La Stampa's Vatican correspondent, who broke the news, noted that while the Pope's pension would be 50pc less than that of a retired cardinal, it was possible his successor might bestow Benedict the title of Emeritus Cardinal, in which case his monthly income would double to €5,000.
When the Pope steps down on February 28, he will take with him only personal effects and gifts, his piano, his cats and private letters. Everything else – including books, furniture, and documents – will remain in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican.
It is expected that he will stay at the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, north of Rome, until he moves in to his new home in a former convent within the Vatican.