In Spring, Summer and part of Autumn the audience is normally held in St Peter's Square to accommodate the large crowds, there is a seating area near the front for those with tickets but it is still a first come first served basis so again to get a good seat you should arrive early.
If you are unable to arrive early or get a ticket in advance, again as the the audience is usually held in St Peter's Square during the Summer season it is still possible to access the Square and participate as there is plenty of standing room.
As Rome can get extremely hot in Summer, particularly June, July, August and the Audience is outside it is good to come prepared. BRING HATS, SUN SCREEN AND WATER, you can also bring something to read or occupy yourself with while you wait for the Audience to start.
You will need to pass through Security scanners similar to the airport to access the audience, it is advisable to bring only small bags or backpacks and Items such as pocket knives, corkscrews, scissors and similar objects will not be permitted through the checkpoint.
The Vatican do list the dates of Audiences and events on their website and they normally update it periodically, usually 3 months ahead of any scheduled dates.
You can check the calendar of events by clicking the following link:
The Papal Audience is scheduled to start at 10.30am (Sometimes in Summer due to the heat they may start the audience at 10am instead)
However, you will find that most people will arrive early to get a good seat. Security opens between 8 - 8.30am, large numbers tend to arrive between 8.30-9am especially during high season when more people will be attending.
The other opportunity to see the Pope is on a sunday at 12 noon when he is in Rome.
He will appear from the window of is apartment where he gives a short speech followed by the Angelus and ending with a blessing He may also greet the crowds in various languages and the whole event usually lasts around15-20mins. He will impart the Apostolic Blessing at the end of the prayer.
Although the Pope holds the Audiences regularly on Wednesdays there are times when he may be on a Pastoral Visit around Italy or overseas or he may be enjoying the Italian holiday period in his summer residence of Castel Gandolfo during the month of August, in which case the Audiences will not be going ahead.
In Winter the audience will be moved indoors to the Hall of Pope Paul VI located to the left of St Peter's Basilica as you face the Church behind the Colonnade.
Although there may be less people attending during winter the Hall can only accommodate a certain amount of people so again to get a good seat and to be guaranteed entrance you should arrive when security opens around 8.00 am.
They will not permit entrance even with tickets once the Hall is full.
Occasionally in the past during the Holiday period of August/early September the audience has been held in the Pope's Holiday Residence of Castel Gandolfo. CANCELLED for 2013 Season
Castel Gandolfo is around 1hr outside of Rome, it is possible to reach there by Public transport but both the buses and trains do not run very often.
You can either take Metro line A to Anagnina Station and from there the Cotral bus to Castel Gandolfo.
You would need to be at Anagnina by 8am to get a bus early enough to get you to the audience on time as again they run very infrequently, almost every 2hrs.
The other option is taking a train from Termini Station and you will need to check the hours but the trains do run more often than the buses.
The Castel Gandolfo train station is located at the bottom of the hill upon which you have the Pope's Palace, you should expect a fairly steep climb to the top.
CLICK ON THE ICON BELOW To See a Timetable Example Roma Termini (Train Station) to Castel Gandolfo "Down Hill" (add 40 minutes walking to the Top):
Alternatively the Pope may reside at Castel Gandolfo and be Helicoptered into Rome for the Audience and back again.
Again, a good way to keep updated is to check the Vatican website, although they do make last minute changes!
For information of upcoming Masses or Liturgical Celebrations
Please Click here: Official Liturgical Calendar from the Vatican
For more information contact Prefecture of the Papal Household:
Prefecture of the Papal Household
00120 Vatican City State
Fax: +39 06 6988 5863
Click on the Right Icon to Download a .PDF Ticket Request Form: