Pope Francis has resumed greeting the public in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican, seven weeks after he halted the Sunday noon ritual to discourage crowds from gathering during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Smiling broadly, Francis appeared at an Apostolic Palace window overlooking the square and greeted a couple of hundred people standing a safe distance apart. Most held umbrellas on a drizzly, windy day.
“In the square again!” Francis said.
He appeared on the first Sunday since the Rome area regained Italy’s “yellow zone” designation, which carries the least restrictions on movement.
Normally thousands of pilgrims, tourists and locals would turn out in the vast square on Sundays to hear the pope.
But Italy is not allowing travel between regions in the country, and with stringent measures discouraging arrivals from overseas, tourism and pilgrimages have practically evaporated.