Papal audience schedule: all you need to know to see the Pope
The Papal Audience is held weekly on a Wednesday and draws in tens of thousands of people who flock to the Vatican City to hear the pontiff address the crowds and receive his blessing. From the devout to the slightly curious, the crowd is delighted with the appearance of the Pope, which due to the number of people in attendance in the summer months needs to take place in the vast Saint Peter’s Square.
Visitors from all over Europe will be delighted when the Pope addresses the crowd in a variety of European languages, and the pontiff often gives a shout out to special religious or school groups in attendance. Our guide will help you navigate the planning process and include some interesting hints and tips to ensure you get the best out of the experience!
About the Papal Audience
The Papal Audience is a “must-see” attraction for many who visit Rome. For the devout, it’s one of the most important moments of their life, and even those who do not follow the catholic faith cannot help but be overwhelmed by the experience. A formal sermon is preceded by the Pope wandering along the barriers near the crowd, greeting people who have come from all over the world to see him and blessing the sick and any children in the crowd. If you can face the crowds it is surely a wonderful trip experience to write home about!
Papal Audience Schedule
The Papal Audience takes place every Wednesday at 10.30am, although this is moved to 10am during the hot summer months as temperatures soar. The schedule is confirmed annually according to the Pope’s calendar – he sometimes takes a summer vacation for example – and allows for you to plan your trip and reserve tickets online.
If you cannot work your trip to get to the Vatican on a Wednesday, never fear – you can still see the Pope at the Angelus Prayer. At midday on Sundays and on other special religious holidays, the pontiff will address the crowd from the window of this study. After leading the Angelus prayer the Pope will then bless the crowd from above. The Angelus Schedule, like the Papal Audience Schedule, is published in advance.
Where to attend the Papal Audience ?
Due to the popularity of the Papal Audience in the warmer months, the event is held every Wednesday in the vast Saint Peter’s Square which can cater for 300,000 people at any one time! The good weather that generally blesses Rome from spring until autumn means that an outdoor audience with the Pope is possible for most of the year, however in the winter months or extreme weather conditions the event moves indoors to the Pope Paul VI hall. This hall doesn’t accommodate nearly as many people as the grand Saint Peter’s Square, and as a result you will need to ensure you have tickets and get there extremely early – at least 2 hours before – to ensure a seat in the hall.
Things you need to know to attend a Papal audience
Check out our tips to ensure your visit to the Papal audience goes smoothly!
General information about the Papal audience
– Security opens at around 8am for a 10am / 10:30am start time depending on the season. Get there around 7.30am to join the queues for security to give you the best chance at getting a prime position.
– Dresscode – don’t risk getting turned away at the gates of the Vatican! Ladies will need to have their shoulders covered and any shorts or skirts must be below the knee. Gents must not wear sleeveless shirt.
– Baggage– travel light. Security is tight and you will be going through metal detectors. Large crowds too are not an ideal place for a lot of luggage – a small zippable bag is all you need.
– Summer visitors – be prepared for heat. Water, sunscreen and caps are a must, we also think those little tins of cooling face spray are a great accessory for the Roman heat!
Papal audience tickets information
– Tickets – to get right in the middle in the seated portion you will need to reserve a ticket in advance
– No tickets – don’t worry if you didn’t get tickets either – you can still access the papal audience and get a position on the side of the crowd – you may even be able to get right up to the fence if you are early and get super close to the pope!
– Don’t buy a ticket! If approached by a ticket tout selling you a “package” including access to the Papal audience run for the hills – the tickets are free!
Get Papal audience tickets
– Tickets can be reserved and collected in advance . If you didn’t reserve you can head to the Porta Sant’Anna and request your tickets beforehand– the tickets are freely distributed on a Tuesday afternoon without charge here by one of the Swiss Guards on the gate.
– You don’t need tickets to access the audience with the Pope, however it is nice to keep one as a souvenir of your time in the Vatican and also helps the authorities plan for the number of people who anticipate attending
– A word of warning – even if you have a ticket you are not guaranteed entry. In fact, those without tickets who arrive earlier have a better chance of getting in than those who do. If the place is full (this is a risk in winter time when the audience is held indoors) you won’t be granted access. Period.
We hope this guide serves you well and you enjoy the fantastic experience of an Audience with the Pope. Those who attend often tout it as the highlight of the trip, and even if you can’t make the Wednesday session the smaller Angelus Prayer on a Sunday is just as magical for many. Learn more on how to attend a Papal Audience with our article on this topic.