How Do You Paint the Vatican? With Milk From the Pope's Cows!

The Vatican is being restored and that means the Pope’s dairy cows are hard at work supplying milk to paint a historic building.

The outside of the Belvedere Palace, a building which houses historic artwork and was built in 1484, is being painted with milk.

According to CNN, the milk “comes from the Pope's cows, raised at the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, just outside of Rome.”

The milk is mixed in an ancient recipe dating back more than 500 years that involves slaked lime and natural pigments. Once ready the milk-based paint is hand patted onto the outside surface of the building, the same way it was done centuries ago.

The technique falls in line with Pope Francis' emphasis on ecology. The Vatican's chief architect, Vitale Zanchettin, says it isn’t about being nostalgic, it is actually because the method works better than other forms of paint.

“The point is that we think these solutions age better. They are tried and tested,” Zanchettin says.

A crew of 100 staff members work fulltime making sure buildings like the Belvedere Palace are cleaned and repaired so more than 6 million visitors per year can see the historic Vatican City.

If you were wondering the Pope’s farm can also be visited by tourists. Pope Francis opened Pontifical Villas of Castel Gandolfo to the public in 2015. The 136 acre estate has 62 acres dedicated to farming with crops and livestock raised to feed the Pope and members of the Vatican. P

The cow herd consists of 80 cows which are cared for by 8 full-time staff members who watch the farm.

Staff member of 33 years, Emilio Scarsella, says the cows have produced “milk, yogurt, mozzarella, butter, fresh cheese” for the last four Popes he served.

The farm was established by Pope Pius XI and was built from 1929-1934.

 
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