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Spiderman pays surprise visit to Vatican for audience with Pope Francis

The man behind the mask was Mattia Villardita, the founder of a network of volunteers who go into hospitals disguised as movie heroes to entertain sick children
Pope Francis meets a man dressed as Spiderman after a general audience at the Vatican. Photo: REUTERS/Remo Casilli

Pope Francis meets a man dressed as Spiderman after a general audience at the Vatican. Photo: REUTERS/Remo Casilli

Philip Pullella

A different type of pilgrim dropped in on Pope Francis' general audience at the Vatican on Wednesday - Spiderman.

A man dressed in a full, skin-tight, red, black and blue costume of the comic book character - including head cover - was sitting in a VIP section of the audience in Vatican's San Damaso Courtyard.

He sat quietly next to a priest dressed in black who appeared to be unperturbed by the colourful character with big white eyes in the next seat.

A person dressed as Spider-Man sits among faithful listening to Pope Francis during his weekly general audience in the San Damaso courtyard at the Vatican.

A person dressed as Spider-Man sits among faithful listening to Pope Francis during his weekly general audience in the San Damaso courtyard at the Vatican.

Spiderman was then brought forward to meet the Pope who shook hands with him and the two chatted for a few moments.

Spiderman was then seen taking selfies with people outside.

It later emerged that the man behind the red and black mask was Mattia Villardita, the founder of a network of volunteers who go into hospitals disguised as movie heroes to entertain sick children.

The 27-year-old’s volunteer work earned him a spot in the VIP section at the weekly papal audience.


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