Category: Society / October 17, 2012 8:49 AM EDT
Tuesday saw the launch of a special exhibition; The Vatican Carriage Museum launched an extended collection of carriages and automobiles used by popes and cardinals. The most extravagant on display is the Berlina di Gran Gala, built in 1826. It is essentially a mobile throne room made of wood with inlays painted in gold leaf.
The first “Popemobile”, effectively a white jeep-style vehicle, burst into the scene when Pope Paul VI used one in 1975 so that he could easily be seen by the crowds who came to Rome for the Jubilee year. The Popemobile became a household name during the papacy of John Paul II who used them to move through the oceanic crowds on his world tours.
The impressive exhibition showcases an array of different Vehicles; one of which is the white Flat 1107 Nuova Campagnola 1980 which John Paul was riding on May 13, 1981 when he was shot and nearly killed.
The first car entered the Vatican in 1909 but the pope at the time refused to use it. This automotive display reflects history, religion and the pope who lived in the midst of his people and time