Pope Francis, an Argentine, grew up listening to the opera by radio, and is a lover of classical music. He is a fan of Argentine tango and thinks Mozart “lifts you to God.” The Pope slipped out of the Vatican on Tuesday evening, making a visit to some old friends who run a Rome record shop and came away with a gift of a CD.
The visit was supposed to remain private but Javier Martinez-Brocal, a reporter for the Rome Reports television news agency was in the area by chance, and noticed a white Fiat 500 with Vatican license plates and some police cars parked in front of the stereo sound shop. He then filmed it with his smart phone, and posted it on Twitter.
But it still came as something of a shock to see the 85-year-old pontiff coming out of a downtown Rome record shop late Tuesday evening. Although unusual, it isn’t the first time the Pope has visited a Rome shop. In 2015, two years after his election, he ordered a new pair of eyeglasses from a Rome optician. They were to have been delivered to the Vatican, but he decided to go pick them up himself.
According to Martinez-Brocal, Pope Francis stayed in the store for a little over 10 minutes. The owners told him they had become friends with the Pope years ago when he was Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires.
It turns out that the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was a customer during his visits to Rome, and had promised them he’d come visit when he met with them at the Vatican.
Martinez-Brocal’s picture and video showed the pope, who shuns bulletproof cars leaving the shop and getting into a simple white Fiat 500.
Our appreciation to Rome Reports for comments and photo in this report.