By Alastair Jamieson, Staff writer, NBC News
Pope Benedict will leave his residence inside the Vatican and travel by helicopter to his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, about 15 miles south-east of Rome at about 4.55 p.m. local time (10:55 a.m. ET) Thursday. His papacy will officially end at 8 p.m. local time (2 p.m. ET).
After stepping down, the pope will keep his name, His Holiness Benedict XVI, but get a new official title, "Emeritus Pope." The Vatican on Tuesday said he would wear a simple white cassock and swap his traditional red shoes for a pair of brown leather loafers he was given on his trip to Leon in Mexico last year. Continue reading.
Editor's note: These pictures were taken on Feb. 20 and 21.