Vatican City

Letta's Holy Land story 'intense' moment with Pope Francis

Premier and pontiff meet for 30 mins and exchange gifts

Letta's Holy Land story 'intense' moment with Pope Francis

Vatican City, July 4 - Italian Premier Enrico Letta said that the story of his recent trip to the Holy Land was a particularly "intense" moment during a 30-minute meeting with Pope Francis on Thursday. The two exchanged gifts in the Vatican library after their first meeting. Letta gave the pontiff a 1571 volume of sermons by St. Thomas Aquinas. "I hope you like it. I believe you will be able to read it, not just keep it," said Letta. Pope Francis responded that it was "much appreciated". Letta also presented the pope with an olive-wood rosary from his trip to Israel this week. Pope Francis gave the premier a pen fashioned after the famous bronze canopy in St. Peter's designed by Renaissance master Gian Lorenzo Bernini. "Every signature is challenging," Letta said, drawing a smile from Pope Francis. It was their first meeting since they assumed their respective offices this year, Francis in March and Letta in April.

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