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Rome Reports

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Rabbits, cows, horses... mini zoo in St. Peter's Square on feast of St. Anthony the Abbot

The feast day of St. Anthonoy the Abbot is celebrated everywhere, even in Rome. Farmers never miss this annual chance to bring their animals to the Vatican to be blessed. 

The tradition catches pilgrims and tourists by surprise on their way to visit St. Peter's Basilica.

“To get to the Vatican and see all these animals is beautiful, really. We did not expect it. What I liked the most are the rabbits. They look very sweet and soft.”

“We came to the Vatican yesterday, and then my wife had researched that the animals were going to be here, so we've come back again today, just to see the animals! We thought the rabbits were huge, and the sheep are kind of different to Australia.”

The event is organized by the Coldiretti association, which brings together farmers and ranchers. Today they warned of the danger of allowing this sector disappear in the economy of a country.

Coldiretti Association
"Always remember that when a barn disappears, when a farmer stops doing his job, a whole social and economic system disappears that had maintained the territory, the land. It provided a unique value to the landscape and the environment."

The children especially enjoy this visit the most. Some of them made important discoveries.

“It's a great opportunity (for children to learn) because in the city we never see animals. For example, we asked one child who made milk and they answered 'the bottle.'”

The animals waited in the square, looking forward to the exciting moment the archpriest of St. Peter's Basilica, Cardinal Angelo Comastri, blesses the animals.

Javier Romero
Melissa Butz