The blog of Free Tour Rome!

Blog with handy tips about Rome and the Vatican


✓  The first conclave ever held was in January 1276. This was not in the Sistine chapel but in Arezzo, about 200 kilometers north of Rome. The elected pope was Pierre de Tarentaise. He took the name pope Innocent V.

✓  The Sistine chapel was completed in the year 1481. The first conclave to be held in the Sistine chapel was in the year 1492.

✓  The shortest conclave so far was from the 7th till the 9th of April, 1378.

✓  The longest conclave so far was nearly three years and was from November, 1268 till September, 1271.

✓  To elect a new pope two – thirds majority of the vote is required. The cardinal who is mend to be the new pope will be asked if he would like to take the task, he can also reject and pass it on.

✓  The smoke signs (black and white) are the only way for the cardinals to communicate with the outside world.

✓  By burning the ballots together with chemicals and straw will produce the famous black smoke.

✓  Black smoke out of the chimney of the Sistine chapel can be seen when there is not been elected a new pope yet.

✓  White smoke announces to the world that the pope has been elected and so the conclave is over.

✓  Ones the new pope presents himself, he presents himself with a "new" name. Often this name is taken from a formal pope for example joseph Ratzinger became Benedict XVI he took the name from Benedict XV. Why? Basically when the pope take the new name he is going to follow in the footsteps of the formal pope in this case Benedict XV. When he take a new name like the present pope Francis (Francesco I) you don't really know what he is going to do during his papacy.

✓  Ok 1 more 10 + 1:-) The word "conclave" comes from Latin words "cum clave" If you would translate it in English "with a key" freely translated "locked room" What explains the cardinals getting locked (with key) into the Sistine Chapel.

✓  The word pope derives from the Greek language (πάππας) meaning "Father"

✓  The present pope Francis (Francesco I) he is pope number 266 elected.

✓  Pope Francis (Francesco I) is the first pope born outside of Europe (from Latin America, Argentinia) in more than 1,000 years.

✓  The pope is the king from the Vatican city one of the smallest state in the world. This state exist since the year 1929.

✓  The pope is the bishop of Rome also called the Pope of Rome.

✓  Catholics traditionally recognize Saint Peter (disciple of Jesus) as being the first pope.

✓  The pope has been elected in the so called conclave.

✓  The pope has many titles one of them would be the term "pontiff" it is from the Latin word pontifex, which means "bridge builder". In other words the pope is the bridge between heaven and earth.

✓  The longest sitting pope was Pius IX from 1846 till 1878 for a total of 31 years.

✓  The shortest sitting pope was Urban VII from 15 till 27 of September 1590, which makes a total of only 13 days.

✓  Pope Francis announced this year (2015) an extraordinary Holy Year which normally take place ones in the 25 years the last one happened in the Jubilee year 2000 so this one is ten years in advance.

We did set out some facts and know about around the Jubilee year.

✓  The Jubilee year will begin on December 8, 2015 and end on November 20, 2016

✓  This is the 30th holy year since the year 1300.

✓  The tradition started of on February 22, 1300 and was announced by the Pope Boniface VIII. His most likely motivation for making this was probably to collect money from pilgrims, it was for sure very successful in Rome they had never seen so many visitors before.

✓  The Pope Boniface VIII had originally planned to have a jubilee year only ones in the hundred years. This changed in 1475 and became one time in the 25 years to allow every generation to have at least have ones in a lifetime.

✓  One of the jubilee most remembered was the one from 1450 where around two hundred persons were trampled to death on the bridge in front of castle sant'Angelo because of a panic in between them. This lead up to the building of a new bridge over the Tiber river ordered by the pope Sixtus IV today it's called ponte Sisto.

✓  There are four churches in Rome and the Vatican included who will open the so-called "Holy door" Porta Santa in Italian. The doors are normally closed and sealed and open only during the Jubilee year when pilgrims from all over the world come through the doors to gain a plenary indulgence which is connected with the Jubilee year.

✓  There are in total seven churches who have a Holy door

  1. Saint Peter's church in the Vatican city
  2. Basilica of Saint Paul outside the Walls in Rome, Italy
  3. Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, Italy
  4. Archbasilica San Giovanni in Laterano in Rome, Italy
  5. Notre-Dame Basilica-Cathedral in Quebec City, Canada
  6. Saint Jean Marie Vianney Sanctuary in Ars-sur-Formans, France
  7. Santiago de Compostela Cathedral in Galicia, Spain