• Italy's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Pope 'more popular than Colosseum'

The Local · 29 Apr 2014, 13:02

Published: 29 Apr 2014 13:02 GMT+02:00

The figures were released by union Coldiretti following a Vatican ceremony on Sunday which attracted an estimated 800,000 pilgrims, during which sainthood was conferred on two former popes.

READ MORE: Vatican makes history with two pope saints day

While the canonization no doubt boosted numbers, the broader increase in numbers has widely been put down to the popularity of Pope Francis who became pontiff last year.

“The number of people participating in the audiences and religious celebrations have seen an important increase,” Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, was quoted in La Stampa as saying. “Groups and individuals are arriving from all over the world,” he added.

If the trend increases, the number of religious tourists is expected to hit seven million in 2014, making the Vatican and religious sites more popular than the Colosseum, which last year attracted 5.6 million visitors.

The cash injection brought by the pilgrims, many of which stay in Rome while visiting the Vatican, will be a welcome boost to the city of Rome.

Story continues below…

Last month the Italian government approved a €570 million bailout for the country’s capital, while work on many of Rome’s famous sites is being sponsored by private businesses in lieu of public funds.  

Don't miss a story about Italy - Join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Italian spouses 'faked break-up to cash in on benefits'
File photo: foooomio/Flickr

Italy's finance police tracked the couple using hidden cameras.

Italy to remove corpses from salvaged migrant boat
Activists pray for those who died in the 2015 tragedy. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

The sinking left around 800 dead - but they will now get proper burials.

Lidl and Bertolli fined €550k for fake 'extra virgin' olive oil
Photo: Dave Fayram/Flickr

The fines for misleading branding were recently hiked in Italy's ongoing battle to protect its oils.

Two-year-old hospitalized after being raised vegan
File photo: Joe Radele/AFP/Getty Images

The toddler spent several days in intensive care where she was treated for health complications thought to be caused by her parents' vegan diet.

Italy and the Netherlands offer to share UN council seat
Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni at the Security Council. Photo: Kena Betancur/AFP

Italy's Foreign Minister said the shared term would show "unity" from two European countries.

Conte theatrics a boon for Italy, and Chelsea fans
Antonio Conte during the Italy-Spain game on Monday. Photo: Philppe Lopez/AFP

A "great" Italian feat toppled Spain at Euro 2016, but Antonio Conte's touchline theatrics were just as dramatic for Italy and Chelsea fans during an emphatic 2-0 win over the defending champions.

Five essential Bud Spencer films to watch this weekend
Italian actor, Bud Spencer, passed away on Monday. Photo: Screenshot/YouTube

If you're looking to remember - or even discover - the delights of the late Bud Spencer's work, here are five films you should definitely watch.

Six of the best places to visit within easy reach of Rome
Gubbio (L) and Norcia (R). Photos: Angus Kirk/EricHuybrechts

Rome has a lot to offer, but if you're looking for variety or simply want a break away from the city, there's a treasure trove of towns within easy reach.

Euro 2016
Germany boss to banish Italy 'curse' in quarter-final clash
Germany coach Joachim Loew says Germany do not have an Italian 'curse'. Photo: Patrik Stollarz/AFP

Germany have lost their last eight matches to Italy at the knockout stages of major tournaments.

Bangladesh official charged over Italian's murder
Tavella's body leaves Bangladesh. Photo: Munir Az Zaman/AFP

The Italian aid worker was shot last September.

Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
How to get Italian citizenship (or at least stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Politics
Where does Britain's exit from the EU leave Italy?
Politics
Has the time come for Italy’s Five Star Movement to shine?
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Society
Why Italy must change after young woman’s brutal murder
Politics
Is Italy's Five Star up to the challenge of running Rome?
Culture
Six of the most bizarre Italian foods everyone should try
Culture
Italian restaurant crowned the best in the world
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Travel
Ten breathtaking Italian gems you've never heard of
National
Eritrean held in Italy denies being trafficking kingpin
Health
Italian man 'turns French' after brain injury
Travel
Six reasons why South Tyrol will absolutely blow your mind
National
Why Italy's facing another tough summer
Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP
Politics
Five reasons Rome's mayoral elections actually matter
Travel
Ten Airbnb apartments where you'll feel at home in Rome
Politics
Quiz: Silvio Berlusconi versus Donald Trump - who said it?
National
Crew who sunk with WWII sub 'wanted to be found': relative
Culture
Why the average ancient Roman worker was dead by 30
Did a Nazi official save Ponte Vecchio from destruction?
National
How the brutal murder of an anti-mafia hero altered Sicily
Travel
These are the best beaches within easy reach of Rome
National
Why Italians are falling out of love with the EU
Business & Money
Foreign, female and a self-made success in arduous Italy
2,529
jobs available