Destination Rome

April 28, 2014 / Events
Rome, Italy

Cumulatively, Rome is probably the travel destination that has seen more visitors than anywhere else. Whether it was trade, administration, or pilgrimage, people have been coming to the Eternal City on a regular basis, upwards of a couple of millenia now.


This weekend, as you all know, was one instance when the usual continuous stream of visitors to the city became a torrent instead. That said, such a torrent happens more often than you would imagine. Two other occasions in the last 15 years (the 2000 Jubilee, and the death of John Paul II) have drawn similar numbers.

(A bit of a tangent I know, but I can’t help but think how satisfied those Ancient Roman engineers would be to know that the road network they built 2,000 years ago is still -figuratively – functioning as designed… as in “If you build it, they will come.”)


And come they did! The canonization of John XXIII and John Paul II this weekend saw upwards of 800,000 people come to celebrate these important 20th century Popes, now Saints. This obviously enormous number of people becomes even more impressive when you realize that it basically increased Rome’s current population temporarily by over 30%.

Numbers aside, what really struck everyone was the incredible mix of the faithful from all over the world…

All roads lead to Rome indeed.

-Images courtesy of,, Jeffry Bruno. Many thanks! Licenses CC BY-SA 2.0 and CC BY-NC-SA 2.0




by GB Bernardini

Editor, Italian Notebook

9 Responses to “Destination Rome”

    • I too was struck by the site of sooo much trasch left on the ground!!! Why do people do that??? I always think that they probably live the same way at home!? I just do not understand! It’s so sad . . . . Karin

  1. Roseann

    Gosh, GB, does Rome Have enough hotel rooms for all those travelers?

  2. MargaretLB

    WOW! What a throng. It must have been an incredible feeling to be a part of that huge crowd in Saint Peter’s Square and the surronding streets. Thanks for the pictures.

  3. GB. why can’t I forward this Kathleen via email. I get a reply that says OOps, wrong address, which isn’t true. I hate Facebook and Twitter as the monopolies of internet forwards. Please help. Loved your pope views of the credenti. Arthur

  4. Dolores Avioli

    I would like to share every “Italian Notebook” with my Italian relatives and don’t know how to proceed. Can you please advise?

  5. I attended an audience in the square last month and was amazed at the number of people present – and was struck by the general feeling of oneness. How much more incredible must this experience have been for those present! And yes those Ancient Romans, too, were truly something!

  6. Anne Robichaud

    GB, so enjoyed your note on the giornata dei 4 Papi! Just read that 80 000 there for Mass of thanksgiving day after AND that in record time – just a few hrs, – 240 trucks cleaned up 100 tons of trash..
    and the article talked about the huge task force of volunteers handling emergency health care etc….TRULY an astounding organizational feat. Italy can stand proud.

  7. melissa miano

    Dear GB, I thoroughly enjoyed your expression of Rome and the city’s ability to collect a throng of diversified individuals for a moment in time and over time! Eternity will erase “time” itself and one gets a glimmer of what that can be like when in Rome. My husband and I visited only once, stayed at a hotel to the left of the Colonnades. I could look out my window and see the great bell on the left of the Basilica. As a previous poster noted, the sense of “oneness” with so much humanity in St. Peter’s Square was amazing. We were lucky to attend a Mass offered by St. John Paul II, concelebrated with then Cardinal Ratzinger (our beloved Benedict XVI) in honor of their predecessors! I will never forget this! Thank you for putting into words my feelings stirred by this canonization weekend so well. A Great Fan, Melissa


Leave a Reply