Santa Maria

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“Euros would be useless as a currency, and I had forgotten to furnish myself with a supply of coloured beads.” Photograph: Switzerland Tourism/

I thought John Cleese summed up mountaineering rather well in a Monty Python sketch. “Kilimanjaro can be a pretty tricky climb, you know,” he said. “I(...)

With Rome bracing itself for an influx of an estimated 1 million tourists and pilgrims, Italian Water Police patrol the Tiber river close to the Vatican City area. Photograph: Claudio Peri/EPA.

Sainthood is all very well but at the end of this historic Roman weekend who is going to pick up the tab? The man asking that very practical qu(...)

The restored St Francis Basilica in Assis. Photograph: Paolo Cocco/Reuters
The basilicas of Assisi

I suppose it was inevitable that I would go to Assisi at some stage to pay my respects to Saint Francis. Not only do I bear his name, but he’s also pa(...)

Pope Francis stands with Andry Nirina Rajoelina, president of Madagascar, during their private audience in the Vatican yesterday. Photograph: Vincenzo Pinto/Reuters

Things ain’t quite what they used to be, down at the Domus Santa Marta residence in the Vatican. For a start, there is a deal of commotion ever(...)

According to several survivors, the fire, which engulfed the Kiss nightclub in the university town of Santa Maria, started when the band on stage lit flares as part of their act.

Prosecutors have charged four people with manslaughter for their roles in a nightclub fire that killed 241 people in southern Brazil in Januar(...)

The best time to visit Venice
  • Travel
  • March 16, 2013, 06:00

March is the best month to visit Venice, with the lowest number of tourists and the best room rates – even at the newly reopened and restored 1(...)

Pope Francis waves from the steps of the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica in Rome yesterday, as he went for a half-hour personal moment of prayer. Photograph: Alessandro Bianchi

As you might expect, the mood in the Domus Santa Marta, the Vatican lodgings where all the cardinals stay during a conclave, was a festive one (...)

Newly elected Pope Francis I (2nd R), Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, walks in the 5th-century Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore during a private visit today. Photograph: Osservatore Romano/Reuters

Yesterday afternoon, by mistake, someone at the Italian Bishops Conference sent off a telegram of congratulations to Car(...)

Newly elected Pope Francis  conducts a blessing as he appears on the central balcony of St Peter's Basilica on March 12, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican. Photograph:
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

It has happened. People around here have been talking about it for years and years but it has finally happened. The cardinals of the Cath(...)

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