The Holy Father arrived in the region by helicopter from Rome. From Aosta, he then went by car to Les Combes, where children presented him with flowers and read him a poem of welcome, the Associated Press reported. The Pope will stay in a wood-and-stone chalet built by the Salesians which looks out on Mont Blanc, Western Europe´s highest mountain.

Bishop Giuseppe Anfossi of Aosta is awaiting a meeting with the Pope, who recently completed a five-day trip to Ukraine.

Bishop Anfossi said: "We offer a vacation to a person who comes from a most important and courageous work, a man who continues to sustain exhausting rhythms of life, but who is not indifferent to the time of rest or the choice of place. I must say that to welcome him, after such an important moment for the history of our Church, is overwhelming."

The Holy Father is scheduled to give an Angelus address next Sunday in Les Combes.