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Pope Francis's first official visit to President Napolitano

Popes have visited presidential palace just nine times in 74 yrs

23 October, 16:20
Pope Francis's first official visit to President Napolitano (ANSA) - Rome, October 23 - Pope Francis will embark on his first official visit to the Italian president on November 14, both State and Vatican authorities confirmed Wednesday.

The pontifical visit to the Italian president's palace, or Quirinale, has only been effected nine times in the past 74 years. Francis' visit follows on President Giorgio Napolitano's trip to the Vatican on June 8, a few weeks after the new pope was elected.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has visited the Quirinale twice: on June 24, 2005, when Carlo Azeglio Ciampi was president, and on October 4, 2008, when Napolitano had replaced him. The very first time a pope went to the Quirinale palace was in 1939, when Pius XII visited King Victor Emmanuel III. The Quirinale had itself been a papal residence until 1870, when Pius IX vacated it in favor of the Vatican.

The first pope to visit Italian authorities after the birth of the republic was John XXIII, who met with President Antonio Segni on May 11, 1963.

When Paul VI took over, he also visited Segni on January 11 of the following year. He followed this up with a visit to President Giuseppe Saragat on March 21, 1966.

Almost two decades later, John Paul II on June 2, 1984, visited President Sandro Pertini, a close personal friend of his. John Paul also visited President Francesco Cossiga on January 18, 1986, and President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro on October 20, 1998.