Whether you are a religious person or not, seeing the Pope at the Vatican is something I believe I must recommend you do.
If you are interested in seeing the Pope at the Vatican, there are two options: one on Sundays and the other on Wednesdays.
In this article I will tell you how to do each one of them step by step.
The Pope in the Vatican in full view
Pope Francis is a person I was very interested in seeing, even if not from afar. And this, I think, is beyond any religion or ideology so I risk recommending that you do it.
As I was saying above, there are two ways to see the Pope every week. The good thing about this is that one of them is during the week and the other is at the weekend.
If you are going to travel to Rome and want to stop by the Vatican, you are in luck because it can become an experience that you will not easily forget.
See the Pope for free on Sundays
If you travel to Rome, you’ll almost certainly want to visit the Vatican. My recommendation is that if you’re thinking of going on a Sunday, you should stay until about noon.
Every Sunday at 11 a.m. Pope Francis looks out of a small window to give the Angelus in front of the whole square.
The Pope may not be present on some Sunday of the year depending on his religious activities that take him to other countries. If you want to see their 2020 agenda you can do it here.
How to prepare to see the Angelus minute by minute
There are a number of steps you should follow minute by minute if you want to see the Pope as comfortably as possible.
That is why I will tell you, from my experience, how to do it at every moment and what you will see.
10:20. You must enter St. Peter’s Square. My advice is to get close to the fence because if you wait any longer it’ll get crowded.
10:30. Television cameramen appear on the rooftop in front of the papal window for the broadcast.
10:45. An awning is opened to prevent the morning sun or rain from hitting the pontiff’s face.
10:50. They hang a red banner out the window. The people, anxious, are happy because the wait is ending.
11:00. Pope Francis appears at the window, greets everyone and begins with the Angelus.
11:15. The Pope bids farewell to those present and sometimes greets some delegations in particular. This schedule is approximate and depends on the pontiff.
Where to go in the square
When you arrive at St. Peter’s Square you will see that there are some wooden fences that serve to organize people.
These fences divide people into two groups. One closer to the building where the Pope is located and the other a little more removed.
Go to the group that’s a little more retired. If you stand too close to the columns in front of you and the angle won’t let you see much.
The second piece of advice I’m giving you is don’t get too desperate to get too close. The Pope is located on the fourth floor of a very tall building so you will be far from him anyway.
How long will you be there
If you are going to visit the Vatican on a Sunday and you want to see the Pope, I recommend that you go very soon to enter St. Peter’s Basilica and then go out to the square to see the Supreme Pontiff.
Don’t expect it to take less than half a day. If you have little time and want to do something else, I advise you to arrive at approximately 10 a.m. to have time for the security checks.
The Angelus lasts between 10 and 15 minutes, but you can take advantage of the whole morning to do other activities there and finally see Pope Francis.
How to see the Pope in person on Wednesdays
If you won’t be in the Vatican one Sunday, don’t worry because there is another option to see Pope Francis.
Every Wednesday morning at 10:00 a.m. the Papal Audience takes place, but this event where you can see the Pope in person just a few meters away starts much earlier.
Tickets and prices
Unlike the Angelus, to attend the Papal audience you will have to get a ticket beforehand. Without that ticket they won’t let you in.
There is a way to do the tour with a guide who gets the ticket for you and you can get it here.
Admission to the Papal audience is totally free. If someone wants to sell it to you, don’t buy it.
What you should pay for is access with a guide as getting these tickets is not easy due to high demand.
Get the ticket on your own
As I told you the ticket is free so it is possible to get it for free (if there are still some left).
To get the ticket for the papal audience on your own I recommend that you go very early to St. Peter’s Square.
Once there, he looks for the Prefecture of the Papal Household. This is an office next to the bronze doors on the right of St. Peter’s Square.
If there are any tickets left, the Swiss Guard will hand them over to you and you will be able to attend without any problems.
Why you should go with a guide
A guide will not only tell you where to stand to see Pope Francis better, but will also tell you details about these audiences and about the Vatican.
Another advantage is that it will allow you to get a better location despite the number of people.
Going to see the Pope on your own is not bad, but if you go with a person who was there before you dozens of times is much better because he will describe to you a lot of things that you probably don’t know and that will enrich your visit.
Dressing to see the Pope
Like many other religious events both the Angelus and the Papal Audience there are certain demands on clothing.
This also applies to visits to St. Peter’s Basilica and most churches.
Some of the recommendations made (whether male or female) are:
Do not wear shorts, mini skirts or very short dresses.
No bare shoulders. This was something that applied only to women but now it is indistinct.
All other behavior or dress is common sense in a religious setting.