While visiting the Vatican on vacation, you may want to request a meeting with the man himself. While receiving a papal audience may not be as hard as one may think, there are still several things you should know before buying a ticket or putting in a formal request. Here is a brief guideline to help make your visit a memorable one.
How to Get a Papal Audience
Audiences with the Pope are held just about every Wednesday morning, if he is in Rome.
As you can imagine, the Pope is a busy man, so tickets should be reserved well ahead of time (bonus: tickets to the audience are always free!).
The easiest way to get an audience is to book papal audience tickets and presentation in English. The Pope also delivers his speeches in several other languages.
How to Get a Papal Blessing
Receiving an actual blessing is a different story. It can be very difficult to acquire an official papal blessing if you live outside of Rome. There are limited occasions that warrant a parchment papal blessing. For example, you must be a baptized Catholic.
You can try contacting the Papal Office directly for a blessing via the Apostolic Blessings Office of Papal Charities (00120 Vatican City, Fax +39.06.69883132) or by using the request form downloaded from the Office of Papal Charities for the following occasions only:
- Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation
- Priestly Ordination
- Religious Profession
- Secular Consecration
- Ordinations of Permanent Deacons
- Marriage Anniversaries (10, 25, 40, 50 , 60 years)*, Priestly Ordination, Religious Profession
- Birthdays (18, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100)*
- Catholic individuals or families (with name and surname of the spouses united in a religious marriage).
Vatican Dress Code
Be aware that Vatican dress code requires no shorts or tank tops. Women's shoulders must be covered.
If you'd like to really go all-out, you can mark this year's Papal Jubilee with a special tour of the Vatican. Tours of all the museums and patriarchal basilicas are on offer, and well as time for independend sight-seeing.
Is it True That the Vatican is an Independent Country?
Yes! But don't worry, there are no passport controls or visa issues. Even though the Vatican is not in the EU, the usual EU laws apply, so you can walk across from Italy into the Vatican without any trouble at all.
Staying Close to the Vatican
The Pope is an early riser, so it may behoove you to stay as close to the Vatican as possible. Additionally, there are many activities and attractions in and around Vatican City itself. Here is a list of affordable hotels to research before you plan your stay.