The Pope Plans to Visit This Year’s Venice Biennale

The Holy See has maintained a presence at the Biennale since 2013. This marks the first papal visit.

Pope Francis greets faithful during the weekly General Audience at the Paul VI Hall on February 07, 2024 in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo: Vatican Media via Vatican Pool/Getty Images.

Pope Francis has announced he will be stopping by the 60th Venice Biennale on April 28, as part of a planned one-day visit to the Italian city. The visit marks the first time the current Bishop of Rome will attend the biennial.

The 87-year-old pontiff will go to the Holy See pavilion, which will take place this year in the women’s prison at Venice’s Giudecca Island. The exhibition, titled “With My Eyes,” is curated by Chiara Parisi and Bruno Racine and dedicated to the theme of human rights, according to a statement issued by the Vatican Dicastery for Culture and Education.

The Holy See, the government of the Catholic Church, has maintained a presence at the biennial since 2013. The pavilion was initiated by Benedict XVI, who encouraged a renewed relationship between the Church and the arts during his papal tenure.

The last time a pope made a pastoral visit to the city of Venice was 13 years ago, when Benedict XVI visited on May 7 and 8, 2011. Prior to that, John Paul II had visited in 1985.

Last year, the Pope welcomed around 200 artists—among them Andres Serrano of Piss Christ fame—to the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel in a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Vatican’s contemporary art collection.

Pope Francis, who resides in the sovereign city-state of Vatican City in Rome, is also planning to travel to Verona and Trieste in 2024. He has not made an apostolic trip within Italy since he visited Asti in November 2022.


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