If you are heading off on your Via Francigena trip that finishes in the ancient city of Rome you may like to request an audience with the Pope, so we have put a few tips together to help you make a booking. We do not arrange tickets for the papal audiences or masses as part of our tours. Requesting a papal audience in St.Peter’s Square is completely free but there is a process to get the tickets.
Firstly, you need to book your tickets at the Papal Audience website. Click on the small, square Vatican icon on the right hand side of the fax numbers. Download the form, fill in the details requested and fax the form to one of the following numbers:
- Fax: +39 06 6988 5863
- From the US & Canada: 011 39 06 6988 5863
- From the UK and Europe : 0039 06 6988 5863
- From Agentina: 0039 06 6988 5863
It is important to note that requests for a papal audience can only be made by fax. If the fax line is busy you will need to wait and try again. Once you have faxed your form to make a reservation you will be provided with details of when and how to collect your tickets. They can be picked up at the ticket office in St.Peter’s Square just inside the bronze door. If you don’t have a reservation the tickets are subject to availability and you can only collect your tickets one day in advance of the papal audience or mass.
Times and capacity
The Papal Audience takes place every Wednesday and starts at 10:30am but security opens from 8 – 8:30am to start checking people through the security machines and getting people seated. Most of the masses are celebrated at St.Peter’s Basilica which can host more than 15,000 people. The whole ceremony takes approximately 1 1/2 – 2 hours. If you want to get a good viewing point we recommend going early as the crowds build up fast. For special occasions and holy masses that expect larger numbers of people the mass will take place in St.Peter’s Square. This venue can host up to 80,000 people. For a seated ticket you will still need to book in advance but if you wish to stand you may be able to do so without a ticket.
Time of the year
There are specific times of the year when the papal audience is extremely popular. In the summer months there are extra masses put on and the Angelus takes place every Sunday in St.Peter’s Square. During Christmas and Easter you will have to reserve a ticket at least two months in advance to guarantee a place. Easter masses and Christmas Eve mass are celebrated in St.Peter’s Basilica but the capacity is limited. In the Spring, Summer and some of Autumn the audience is held in St.Peter’s Square to cater for the large crowds. As it is usually very hot in the Summer months the audience is asked to come prepared with hats, sun-screen and water. In the winter months the audience is moved indoors to the Hall of Pope Paul VI located to the left of St.Peter’s Basilica. The hall can only accommodate 6,300 people so to get a good seat you should book in advance and arrive early.
The dress code for a papal audience is casual but they do ask that women cover their shoulders. Hats and sunscreen are advised if you plan on attending during any of the summer months in Rome. St.Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums have a more stringent dress code. T-shirts without sleeves, shorts, baseball caps and short skirts are not permitted.
The Vatican update a calendar of events and masses on their website up to 3 months ahead of scheduled dates so be sure to check the calendar before you embark on your Via Francigena tour. If you would like more information about requesting a papal audience or to book your next Via Francigena walking or cycling holiday please contact one of our Travel Specialists.