The Christmas tree for St Peters square was donated by Italy, from the southern region of Calabria, this year and transporting it to Rome from the south of Italy was no easy feat.

The tree, which is some 33 m high, took up most of the width of the Salerno-Reggio Calabria motorway, where it travelled with the assistance of the forestry commission, the civil protection unit and personnel from the transport authority ANAS.

As this slow procession caused an intense congestion of traffic along the road, the convoy had to stop at regular intervals to allow other vehicles to get past. The popes Christmas tree was set to arrive in Rome at 04.00 on 13 December.