The former Pope has been pictured for the first time since he retired, walking in the grounds of Castel Gandolfo near Rome wearing the baseball cap he only usually wears in the summer months.
Dressed all in white and complete with the matching cap, the Emeritus pope looks like he is enjoying every minute of his retirement.
The picture was published in the infamous glossy Italian weekly Chi, the same magazine that ran pictures of a topless Duchess of Cambridge on holiday in France.
Meanwhile Vatican officials 'gagged' cardinals gathered for the election of the next pope from speaking to the media amid reports the conclave has been delayed again.
American cardinals who had been scheduled to hold their third media briefing in as many days cancelled it less than an hour before it was to have started at Rome's North American College, where they are staying.
A spokeswoman for the American cardinals said 'concern' was expressed at Wednesday's closed-door meeting 'about leaks of confidential proceedings reported in Italian newspapers'.
As the meetings were delayed in Rome, the ex Pope Benedict XVI, 85, was pictured walking with the aid of a stick through the gardens of his summer residence at Castelgandolfo on the outskirts of Rome where he will be living until his new apartment - a renovated convent in the grounds of the Vatican are ready.
He is not wearing his trademark red shoes but dark ones and he appears to be deep in conversation.
A second photograph saw the former Pope being joined on his walk by a group of housekeepers.
The Vatican revealed last week he had enjoyed an evening of watching television before having a night of 'serene and peaceful' sleep.
The former First Leader of the Catholic Church will live at Castel Gandolfo for several weeks, sleeping in a bed just 75cm wide and without a canopy, unlike the one the much grander one slept in over his eight years as pope.
He will then move to a specially prepared apartment at a convent in the Vatican.
The retired pontiff has reportedly taken with him a number theology books as well as music to listen to.
He was also hoping to play the piano - one of his favourite pastimes - in the evenings.
More than 150 cardinals attended the third day of the preliminary meetings to sketch a profile for the next pope following the shock abdication of Pope Benedict last month.
All but two of the 115 'cardinal electors' aged under 80 have arrived for the meetings, the Vatican said.
The preliminary meetings are taking place as the crisis involving sexual abuse of children by priests and inappropriate behaviour among adult clerics continues to haunt the Church and has rarely been out of the headlines.
Under Church law the cardinals have until March 20 to start a conclave to choose a new pope to lead the 1.2 billion-member Church.
While many observers had expected the conclave to begin as early as this Sunday or Monday, there have been increasing indications that the cardinals want more time to ponder who among them might be best to lead a Church beset by crises.
Several of the prelates leaving the meetings said preliminary proceedings were still at the early stages and more time would be necessary before they could decide on when to start the conclave in the Sistine Chapel.
Workmen have begun preparing the chapel, building a new, suspended floor to protect the centuries-old tiles.
Workmen were pictured today installing stoves into the chapel where ballots are burned when a vote is undertaken.
The stoves are hooked up to chimneys on the roof and white smoke billows out of them when a new Pope is chosen.
Nonetheless, the Vatican spokesman said it was important that no one felt "pressured" into going into the conclave before they were ready and that more time would be needed for "reflection".
One cardinal leaving the meeting said there had been no formal discussion on Wednesday of the so-called "Vatileaks" scandal, which led to the arrest of Paolo Gabriele, the pope's butler, further besmirching the Church's reputation.
Gabriele was convicted of stealing personal papal documents and leaking them to the media. The documents alleged corruption and infighting over the running of its bank.
A trio of elderly cardinals prepared a report on the scandal for Benedict, who later pardoned Gabriele, and a number of cardinals attending the preliminary meetings said they wanted to be briefed on the report.
Thousands gathered in St Peter's Square to hear Benedict's retirement speech last Thursday.