Pope Francis has received in audience the outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Apostolic Palace of the Vatican, during her farewell visit to Italy, the Holy See said on Thursday.
The pontiff and the chancellor traditionally exchanged gifts during the audience, which lasted over 40 minutes. Merkel presented Francis with a set of books, including one about Italian architect and painter Michelangelo, as well as some German gastronomic products, media said.
In turn, the Pope gifted Merkel with a bronze statuette of the Holy Gates of St. Peter’s Cathedral and editions of his encyclicals and other papal documents.
In the evening, Pope Francis and Merkel are expected to take part in the final event of the annual Prayer for Peace, which will be held at the Colosseum and attended by representatives of the main world religions.
Before going to the Vatican, Merkel visited the headquarters of the Jesuit periodical La Civilta Cattolica in Rome to meet with its director, Antonio Spadaro, and the former head of the Holy See press office, Federico Lombardi.
The chancellor will later meet with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi at his official residence in the Chigi Palace.