During 2016, nearly 4 million people attended events with the pope in the Vatican, 800,000 pilgrims more than last year.
The Vatican data do not include the trips made by the pope this year or his visits to parishes in Rome. Instead, they are calculated from the number of invitations distributed.
Invitations for encounters with the pope are always free, and most pilgrims request them online before traveling to Rome.
"I got it on the Internet. It is an invitation I sent to the Vatican. The Vatican answered us and gave us the tickets."
"Quite easy, I would say, a lot of people of course, but you know you just go. Of course, there are a lot of security, checking, controlling..., if you look like a bit dangerous. The pope... It's a nice thing; it's a big thing to hear directly the pope talking.”
"We were twenty meters, thirty meters from the pope. It's a beautiful feeling."
"Sì, I'm (se santigua).”
It is interesting when comparing the number of pilgrims in 2016 with data from previous years.
In 2015, around 3,200,000 people traveled to the Vatican and in 2014, more than 5,900,000 came, thanks to the worldwide impact of John Paul II's and John XXIII's canonizations. In 2013 the numbers were even higher: more than 6,500,000 pilgrims visited Rome, due to the novelty effect after the election of the new pope.
In fact, the numbers of 2012 were much lower, and did not even reach 2,500,000 pilgrims.