How to See the Pope
Piazza San Pietro is the scene of large papal audiences as well as special commemorations, masses, and beatification ceremonies. When he's in Rome, the pope makes an appearance every Sunday at noon (call the Vatican Information office to find out if the pope is in town and the exact time) at the window of the Vatican Palace. He addresses the crowd and blesses all present. The pope also holds mass audiences in the square on Wednesday morning about 10:30 am; for a seat, a ticket is necessary. In the winter and inclement circumstances, the audience is held in an indoor audience hall adjacent to the basilica (Aula Paolo Sesto). During summer, while the pope is vacationing at Castel Gandolfo in the Castelli Romani hills outside Rome, he gives a talk and blessing from a balcony of the papal palace there. For admission to an audience, apply for free tickets by phone or fax in advance, indicating the date you prefer, the language you speak, and the hotel in which you will stay.
You also can apply for tickets at the Prefettura della Casa Pontifice, either by fax (39 06/69885863) or by going to the office on Tuesday between 3 and 7 or on the morning of the audience between 7 and 10. You can reach the office through the Portone di Bronzo (Bronze Door) at the end of the right-hand colonnade. Or you can arrange your tickets for free for Wednesday general audiences (although not for the papal mass) through the Santa Susanna American Church (Via XX Settembre 15, near Termini 06/69001821). The best way is to fill out a booking form directly online at www.santasusanna.org/popeVatican/tickets.html. You can pick up your tickets on Tuesday between 5 pm and 6:30 pm only.
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