Rome prepares for Jubilee Year

Rome and Lazio region pool resources in preparation for influx of pilgrims.

Authorities from Rome and the region of Lazio are joining forces to prepare for the Jubilee Year, scheduled to begin Rome on 8 December, following the recent surprise announcement by Pope Francis.

Initial plans include installing a rescue helicopter base for medical emergencies beside the Basilica of S. Giovanni in Laterano – with direct access to the adjacent S. Giovanni hospital – as well as the provision of an additional 80 ambulances in operation and the refurbishment of a 100-bed hostel at S. Maria della Pietà.

Resources will be pooled between the capital and the Lazio region, and priorities will include health, mobility, security, civil protection, tourism and hospitality.

Much of the organisation is expected to be based on the successful Jubilee 2000 model when 25 million pilgrims and tourists thronged the Italian capital.

Pope Francis greets pilgrims
Pope Francis greets pilgrims

At the time the mayor of Rome was Francesco Rutelli who has now offered his expertise to incumbent mayor Ignazio Marino. Rutelli believes it will be a question of putting in place clever organisational policies for the event to be a success, and that it won't need much money, "just a few hundred thousand euro.”

However a major difference this time around is that Rome will have far less time to prepare for the upcoming Jubilee and, with less than 270 days to go, it is very much a race against time.

Another factor that has become significantly more pertinent since 15 years ago is the threat of terrorism, with the Holy Year announcement sparking fresh concerns that the Islamic State (Isis) militant group could carry out its threat to “conquer Rome.”