Rome's holy weekend may be costly

06 April 2011 09:35

The beatification ceremony of the late Pope John Paul II is scheduled to be held in St Peter's Square on May 1

The beatification ceremony of the late Pope John Paul II is scheduled to be held in St Peter's Square on May 1

Holidaymakers planning a trip to Rome have been warned of a steep rise in hotel prices as pilgrims head to the city for the forthcoming beatification of John Paul II.

Travellers to the Italian capital have complained about six-fold increases in hotel prices following increased demand from a vast number of pilgrims hoping to pay homage to the late pontiff by attending the event on May 1.

The rise in accommodation costs means that travellers to the city will now be looking for cheap travel insurance quotes.

However, the Vatican travel agency said there are chances the prices might fall in the coming weeks, as it is possible that many tourists will be put off by predictions of more than a million people attending the ceremony.

The Vatican has also warned those planning to attending the ceremony, to mark the last formal step before possible sainthood for John Paul II, about online fraudsters selling bogus "tickets" to the event.

It said there are no tickets for the event and that the places in St Peter's Square will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

"People want a place for 80 euro," said the rector, the Rev Gregory Apparcel. But the convents listed by Santa Susanna on a popular link on its website are already booked solid, he said.

The last few years have seen soaring demand for rooms rented out by nuns as safe, clean and economical alternatives to the nondescript hotels that often charge upward of 150 euros nightly for claustrophobic rooms.

"At this point, if you don't have a hotel room, don't come," advised the Rev Apparcel.

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