So... you want to see the Pope on your trip to Rome? Good idea. It can be the highlight of your trip. But first, you want to make sure that he'll be there when you are.
Visit the Vatican website, select your language, and take a look at the calendar so you can check Pope Francis’ schedule. Note: his schedule is usually announced only 2-3 months in advance. Or, as an alternative you can download the fun and handy dandy Pope App. Yes, there really is a Pope app!
If you'd like to Pope Francis on your visit to Rome, here’s all the info you'll need to know.
What are the Different Ways I Can See the Pope in Rome?
See the Pope in Rome - Wednesday Papal Audience
BREAKING NEWS FOR AUGUST 2015
Possibly the easiest way to see the Pope in Rome is to attend a Papal audience. These are held (almost) every Wednesday when Pope Francis is in Rome. It’s quite easy to get Papal audience tickets, so if you're in Rome on a Wednesday and so is the Pope, why not get tickets?
But remember: the Papal audience is not a mass. It's an opportunity to listen to the Pope give an address in Italian, followed by prayers, a homily, and perhaps some singing. At the end of the ceremony, the Pope will bless religious articles. So if you have any rosaries, medallions, bibles or other religious objects, feel free to them along!
Usually, the Papal audience is held outside in Saint Peter’s square. When it’s raining heavily or very cold, the Papal audience is held inside at the Hall of Pope Paul VI (to the left of St Peters as you are facing it). If there are large crowds, there may be one group in the Audience Hall and one group in St. Peters Basilica.
And, in the late summer, if the pope goes to his summer residence just outside Rome at Castel Gandolfo, then it may be held there. So far, Pope Francis has elected not to hold Papal audiences at Castel Gandolfo.
Tickets are free, but can be very hard to come by if for Easter Sunday and Christmas midnight mass. Here's how to get them:
See the Pope in Rome - Sunday Angelus
If you want to see the Pope in Rome, and are here on a Sunday, head to Saint Peter’s Square at noon for the Angelus.
Pope Francis will appear from the window of an apartment there. He will give a short speech followed by the Angelus and end the ceremony with an Apostolic blessing. He may also greet the crowd in various languages. The blessing, including the various greetings, usually lasts a maximum of 20 minutes.
You don't need tickets for the Sunday Angelus. But you should plan to get there early to get a good spot.
Pope Francis chose not to live in the official papal residence in the Apostolic Palace. Instead, he lives in the Vatican guest house. However, the Pope does appear at the window of the Apostolic Palace for the Sunday Angelus.
See the Pope in Rome - Non-holiday Papal Masses
All Liturgical Celebrations conducted by the pope (Papal Masses) require a ticket. It's free and easy to request them. For most Papal Masses, you can request tickets up to a few days prior to the event. Papal Massses are held fairly regularly, and may be held in various churches throughout Rome.
For example, the Pope may visit one of the other Patriarchal Basilicas in Rome, Santa Maria Maggiore (Saint Mary Major), San Giovanni in Laterano (Saint John in Lateran), or San Paolo Fuori le Mura (Saint Pauls Outside the Walls). Alternatively, on Ash Wednesday the Pope usually gives mass at Santa Sabina, a beautiful ancient basilica on the Aventine Hill.
To see a schedule of upcoming Papal Masses (and also to request tickets), visit the website of the Prefecture of the Papal Household.
See the Pope in Rome - Holiday Papal Masses
It goes without saying that tickets to very popular Papal Masses, such as for Christmas Eve and for Easter Sunday may be very difficult to come by. Everyone wants to see the Pope in Rome during that time!
But it never hurts to ask. If you really want to see the Pope in Rome during Christmas or Easter, your best bet is requesting these particular tickets at least 6 months in advance.
If you don’t or cannot get tickets, you may still attend. You will just be outside the church where the mass is being held and you can watch everything on giant Jumbotron screens. Both the Christmas and Easter seasons offer a lot of different Papal Masses you may attend.
This list contains the Papal Masses taking place over the Easter holiday season. Tickets are required for almost all events, and for midnight Mass on Easter Sunday and Palm Sunday, they will be especially difficult to come by:
See the Pope in Rome - Other Holiday Events with Pope Francis
Urbi et Orbi: Twice a year (on Christmas Day and Easter Sunday) the Pope gives a special blessing to the crowd called the Urbi et Orbi ("to the City and to the World"). You may also watch this speech live on Vatican TV, or listen on Vatican radio. At noon, the Pope will come out of the from the central loggia of Saint Peter's Basilica for the blessing. No tickets are required to attend the Urbi et Orbi.
Immacolata: The Pope pas homage to Mary at the Spanish Steps: On December 8, which is the Immacolata, or Immaculate Conception, the Pope visits Piazza Mignanelli, a plaza next to the bottom of the Spanish Steps. During this event, the Pope goes to pay homage to Mary, whose statue is at the very top of a pillar there. (According to the Vatican website, this is called "Act of Veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the occasion of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception"). His scheduled time for this visit is 4pm, so if you want to get a spot, you should get there a lot earlier than that.
Good Friday before Easter - via Crucis at the Colosseum: On Good Friday before Easter, the Pope leads a procession of the via Crucis at the Colosseum. No ticket is required but expect large crowds.
Audra de Falco is a certified freelance Italian, Spanish and French translator and interpreter. She loves writing about the profession and dual Italian citizenship. Her free time is spent mostly learning Dutch, reading and exploring New York. Contact.