On the feast of the Immaculate Conception on Thursday 8 December, Pope Benedict XVI pays homage to the Virgin Mary by making a pilgrimage to Piazza Mignanelli beside 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.

As well as being a Catholic holy day it is a national Italian holiday, with all public offices and schools closed; shops however remain open as it is generally seen as the official start of the Christmas shopping season.

The pope

Wanted in Rome
Wanted in Rome
Wanted in Rome is a monthly magazine in English for expatriates in Rome established in 1985. The magazine covers Rome news stories that may be of interest to English and Italian speaking residents, and tourists as well. The publication also offers classifieds, photos, information on events, museums, churches, galleries, exhibits, fashion, food, and local travel.
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