The Francis Chronicles: Pope Francis is giving up the historic summer residence where pontiffs have holidayed for nearly 400 years.
While enjoying a private visit to the Sistine Chapel, a group of VIP guests -- homeless people who live around the Vatican -- were surprised by a visit from Pope Francis.
The 150 visitors had just reached the Sistine Chapel at about 5 p.m. Thursday when Pope Francis walked through the door.
"Welcome," the pope said. "This is everyone's house, this is your home. The doors are always open for all."
The papal almoner, an archbishop who distributes charitable aid from Pope Francis, planned a special afternoon for about 150 homeless people: a walk through the Vatican Gardens, a visit to the Vatican Museums, private time in the Sistine Chapel and dinner in the museums' cafeteria.
For those who have never been inside any of the Vatican Museums, seeing a documentary about them on the big screen could be a real treat.
Despite worries about the impact of millions of tourists on Michelangelo's precious frescoes, the Sistine Chapel is opening its doors for the first time to a new kind of tourist to support Pope Francis' charities.
Porsche enthusiasts will pay 5,000 euros ($6,400) each for a tour in and around Rome that will include an exclusive after-hours concert inside the Sistine Chapel and a dinner in the Vatican Museums on Saturday.
Some 5.5 million visitors toured the Vatican Museums last year, and the numbers continue to grow. "The popularity of Pope Francis has reverberated onto the museums," Antonio Paolucci, the museums' director, told journalists.
Now, for the first time, digital technology is taking visitors not only through the museums, but also further inside the Vatican than has ever before been possible.
A team of nearly a dozen restorers are bringing back the original splendor of the sanctuary that houses the Holy Stairs.