How to See the Pope at Christmas and Throughout the Year (Free Italy Travel Advice)

This article originally appeared in a previous issue of Dream of Italy. Updated 2018.

To request Christmas (or Easter) tickets: Contact Monsignor Roger Roensch or Sister Mary Joanna RSM at the Bishop’s Office for U.S. Visitors to the Vatican, Via dell’ Umiltá 30, 00187, Rome, Italy. Call (39) 06 690011 or fax (39) 06 6791448. E-mail nacvisoffrome.csm@citiesonline.it Note that it is very difficult to secure these tickets and you will not receive a response unless you are granted tickets.

No tickets needed: At midnight on Christmas Eve, crowds gather in St. Peter’s Square to watch (via large screen televisions) the Pope say mass. The Pope also appears at his apartment window over St. Peter’s Square at noon on Christmas Day to give a blessing.

Papal audiences and other masses: The Church of Santa Susanna, home of the American Catholic Church in Rome, can help you get tickets for the Pope’s weekly Wednesday audiences (which start at 10:00 or 10:30 a.m.) and other special masses throughout the year. (Note: Newlyweds [within eight weeks of their wedding] can sit in a special section, with or without their wedding attire but must have their wedding certificate with them.) Ticket requests must be made at least one week in advance and no farther in advance than ten weeks. You can request tickets online at www.santasusanna.org or e-mail tickets@santasusanna.org. You may also request tickets through the Prefettura della Casa Pontificia by calling (39) 06 69883114, Monday through Saturday between 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. or by sending a fax to (39) 06 69885863.

If you are willing to pay to secure tickets to a Wednesday audience with the Pope (which are usually free), tour operator Select Italy can help. Price: $50 flat fee for your entire party.

No tickets needed: If you find yourself in Rome on a Sunday, walk over to St. Peter’s Square, as the Pope frequently appears in the window of his apartment at noon and gives a blessing.