Are you planning to be in Rome and you want to meet the Pope? Discover how to book your free tickets to the Papal Audience and when the audiences are scheduled.
Most tourists planning a trip to Rome wish to visit the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica and many of them dream to see and meet the Pope.
If you are among them, you have to know that the Pope usually gives a Public Audience every Wednesday (and some Saturdays) at 10.30am and that to gain access to the meetings you need to reserve tickets to the Papal Audience, which are absolutely free. Pope Francis I either receives groups of followers in St. Peter’s Square or, in the winter time, in the “Sala Nervi” room inside the Vatican.
What happens in the Papal Audience?
First of all, this is not a religious celebration, nor a Catholic Mass. The Pope meets the audience and gives his thoughts about religion and general subjects which concern humanity and world issues. At the end of the Audience the Pope imparts a Blessing to followers and visitors, which also extends to the crowd’s loved ones that are sick and suffering. You will also see the Pope blessing religious articles, such as rosary beads that people bring on purpose.
Since tickets to the Papal Audience must be booked in advance, the Pope is informed of the participants’ nationality and can therefore prepare a welcome speech in each language. The audience itself is held in Italian and repeated in the main international languages. The Pope does not have the time to greet each and every visitor. Nevertheless, if you are lucky enough and the audience is not crowded, you might get the chance to take a picture with Pope Francis or greet him. The Pope loves to have direct contact with pilgrims and he usually passes through the crowd to shake hands, hug the sick, kiss childen or say a word or two to whomever wishes to address him. This is why we suggest to reach St. Peter’s well before 10.30am and grab a seat surrounding the central aisle, the one facing the alley where the Pope-mobile will pass by.
How to get tickets to the Papal Audience
Please bear in mind that participating in Papal Audiences is totally free. The only thing you need to do is request free tickets to the Papal Audience and communicate your personal data. The Vatican needs your personal information and the number of participants in order to properly organize the event and for security measures. If you want to participate in Papal Audiences we suggest doing it well in advance. First of all, check if, when and where an Audience is scheduled during your visit to Rome, clicking on this link. Then you need to download this request form and fill it in with the following information:
-> Date of the Audience
-> number of participants
-> Name of group
-> Postal address
-> Telephone/Fax number
The form will have to be sent by post to: Prefettura della Casa Pontificia – 00120 Vatican City or be faxed to this number: +39 06.69885863. The Vatican will then reply back with a confirmation by post or fax.
When and where you can collect your tickets
Once you get to the Vatican, head to the office for the Papal Audiences: you just need to go through the Bronze Door, on the right side of the Colonnade of St. Peter’s Square. You can either go there the day before the event from 3pm to 7:30pm or on the morning of the Audience from 7am to 10.30am. Once again, if you are in Rome the day before, it is much better to get your tickets right away, in order to reach St. Peter’s square (or the “Sala Nervi”) well before 10.30am and get the best seats (there are usually 6,000 available). Don’t forget you also need to pass security controls, which will take you some time, and that you need to follow a precise dress code: shoulders must be covered and trousers and skirts must be below the knees, both for men and women.