Rome to become “open-air construction site” as city prepares for influx of pilgrims in 2025.

Rome mayor Roberto Gualtieri has pledged that the slew of public construction projects underway in the Italian capital ahead of Jubilee Year 2025 will “change the face” of the city.

During a meeting at the Vatican last week, Gualtieri told Pope Francis that there are currently 1,400 building sites open across Rome, with construction crews working round the clock to complete the biggest Jubilee projects in time for the Holy Year.

The mayor said the city would become “an open-air construction site” in 2024, acknowledging that the works would inevitably cause inconvenience but vowing that the finished result would make Rome “more livable and welcoming for everyone”.

The most ambitious infrastructure scheme underway in Rome right now is the pedestrianisation of Piazza Pia, which will link Castel S. Angelo to Via della Conciliazione and St Peter’s Square.

The project, scheduled for completion by December, will see traffic channelled underground to meet the existing Lungotevere in Sassia underpass, built as part of the works for Jubilee 2000.

Other major projects include the restyling of Piazza Risorgimento near the Vatican, which will be partially pedestrianised, with an underground passage leading pilgrims towards St Peter’s.

The central Piazza della Repubblica and Piazza dei Cinquecento, in the area around Rome’s main train station Termini, will both be redeveloped and enhanced ahead of 2025.

Construction work continues on Ponte dell’Industria, also known as Ponte di Ferro, the landmark bridge damaged by fire in 2021, which is scheduled to reopen in September 2024.

Another major Jubilee project due to get underway this spring will see the city transform the sprawling site outside the Basilica di S. Giovanni in Laterano, with the existing patchy lawns to be replaced with new paving, light effects and walk-in “splash” fountains.

What is the Jubilee Year?

Vatican jubilees take place every 25 years and are designed as a “special year of grace, in which the Church offers the faithful the possibility of obtaining a plenary indulgence”, according to Vatican News.

There was an “extraordinary” Holy Year of Mercy in 2015, at the surprise behest of Pope Francis, while the last ordinary jubilee was in the millennium year of 2000 when around 25 million pilgrims and tourists thronged the capital.

The pope marks the event by opening the Holy Doors at St Peter’s as well as the other papal basilicas of S. Giovanni in Laterano, S. Paolo fuori le Mura and S. Maria Maggiore.

Traditionally the Jubilee begins just before Christmas and ends on the Epiphany of the following year, with the doors remaining open until the end of the holy year.

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