Holy giant Christmas tree, Batman! On Wednesday, Pope Benedict XVI used a Sony Tablet S to illuminate what is billed as the world’s largest Christmas tree. With a tap of his finger, the Pope wirelessly brought the Mount Ingino Christmas Tree to life, all from the comfort of the Vatican. For the first time, the 84-year-old Benedict used a tablet computer to ignite the huge Christmas tree lighting display located just outside the Italian town of Gubbio.
The display, also called the Gubbio Christmas Tree is in fact a lighting display in the shape of a Christmas tree. Located in the province of Perugia (Umbria), the Mount Ingino Christmas Tree spans 350 m at its base. It is 650 m high and covers an area of 130,000 square meters (1.4 million square feet). That’s the equivalent to an area of just under 30 soccer fields. Towering above the city, the “tree” can be seen as far away as 50 kilometers. Installed annually, the display is comprised of 730 multi-colored lights, and uses over 8.5 kilometers of electrical cable. In 1991, the Guinness Book of Records named it the “The World’s Largest Christmas Tree”.
This tradition started in 1981, when the people of the town decided to celebrate Christmas in a different way. The idea of the “tree” was hatched, and since then, it has made its appearance annually. The display is lit on December 7th of each year thanks to the combined efforts of volunteers through the months leading to the event.
The lighting of the tree is not Pope’s first encounter with technology. In fact, he seems to be embracing new technology. Earlier in the year, he tweeted for the first time, and even launched the Vatican’s online news information portal by tapping on an iPad.