To the east of the basilica is the Piazza di San Pietro (St. Peter’s Square), site of the papal audience with Pope Francis. As Pope Francis was in Rome during our visit, a Papal Audience was held on Wednesday (our second day in Italy) and we, as well as other pilgrims and visitors, took this golden opportunity to see the successor of the Apostle Peter.
Check out “St. Peter’s Square“
The Papal Audience was scheduled to start at 10:30 AM (sometimes in summer, due to the heat, they may start the audience at 10 AM instead) but there were already large numbers of people queuing when we arrived at 9 AM. Security opened between 8 – 8:30 AM and we needed to pass through security scanners similar to those at the airport to access.
Near the front is a seating area for those with tickets but, to get a good seat, it is still a first come first served basis. We were not able to get a ticket in advance but, as we arrived early, we were able to get fairly good seats facing the podium.
Shouts of joy heralded the arrival of the Pope in his Popemobile which circled the square, stopping occasionally for the Pope to kiss babies handed to him by his security from parents as well as wave to the crowd. Upon reaching the podium, he alighted and took his seat.
The Pope spoke in Italian, which I didn’t understand, but I gather it consisted of small teachings and readings. He then made greetings in each language, including in Pilipino. At the end of the 1.5-hour Audience, the Pope prayed, together with the attendees, the Our Father prayer in Latin (said to be normally printed on the back of the Papal Audience ticket). At the end of the prayer, the head of the Catholic Church imparted his Apostolic Blessing upon the crowd.
Papal Audience: Papal Audience tickets are free. If you need less than 10 tickets, you can normally pick up tickets, without a reservation, from the Swiss Guards at the “Bronze Doors” located just after security at St Peter’s Basilica. You can pick up tickets the day before the audience, after 3 PM until 7 PM (summer) until 6 PM (Winter). You can also pick up tickets on the day of the mass, from 7 AM until 3 PM. You must collect your tickets one day before (not sooner) for the papal audience/mass with the pope subject to availability without a reservation. If you prefer to pre-book tickets and If you need more than 10 tickets, you will need to make a reservation in advance (https://www.vaticantour.com/images/Vatican_Ticket_request.pdf.). Tickets should be picked up from the Vatican Offices located at the Bronze Doors. Website: www.papalaudience.org.