Pope opts for Belgian spruce

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The Vatican has accepted Wallonia's offer of a Christmas tree from the woodlands of the Ardennes.

The spruce will embellish St Peter's Square in Rome over the holidays.

The Pope reportedly had a choice of several offers, but in the end decided on a Belgian Christmas tree.

It was the pontiff's predecessor Pope John Paul II who started the tradition of erecting a Christmas manger and tree on the square twenty-five years ago.

Since then various regions have vied for the honour of being allowed to supply the papal spruce.

This year's Christmas tree will come from Spa in Belgium. The tree is ninety years old, stands 30 metres high and weighs 14 tonnes.

It will be felled on 23 November and will be delivered in Rome in mid December.

Each and every year up to 4 million Christmas trees are produced in the Belgian region of Wallonia. Eighty percent are exported.


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