Feast of the Immaculate Conception in Rome

Traffic restrictions for pope's visit to Spanish Steps

On the feast of the Immaculate Conception on Sunday 8 December, the pope pays homage to the Virgin Mary by making a pilgrimage to Piazza Mignanelli near the Spanish Steps at 16.00. In an annual tradition dating back to 1958, after kneeling in prayer the pope leaves a floral wreath which is placed on the statue of the Madonna in the square.

This is the first visit of Pope Francis to Piazza di Spagna so there are certain to be large crowds hoping that Francis will break away from the usual protocol to mix with the people.

As well as being a Catholic holy day it is a national Italian holiday, although this year it falls on a Sunday so will not affect schools or public offices.

Most shops remain open as the day is generally viewed as the official start of the Christmas shopping season. The pope’s visit to the historic centre will result in a number of street closures and bus detours in the area around the Spanish Steps throughout the day.

For full details see Rome's mobility website.