John Paul II’s beatification in Rome: What to watch out for.

The beatification ceremony of Pope John Paul II will take place on May 1 2011 and already the tricksters and fraudsters are trying to benefit.

It is expected that more than 1 million faithful Catholics will attend the event. Apart from the beatification ceremony (the first step on the way to sainthood) there will be several other events, starting with a prayer vigil on April 30.

Although the Vatican has stated from the beginning that no tickets are required for the Beatification Mass, tour operators are offering tickets on the internet that include the ceremony.

John Paul’s coffin will be exhumed for the ceremony. After May 2, it will not be re-interred into its current spot in the crypts below Saint Peter’s Basilica though, but placed in one of its side chapels. After the beatification mass the faithful will be able to pray in front of the closed coffin, which will be placed before the main altar of Saint Peter’s.

The tour operators selling tickets for an event that is free anyway are probably the same ones who keep insisting that there are no hotel beds left in Rome during those three days. What they really mean is that the hotels they work with have no more rooms. If you really want to visit Rome around May 1 2011, take some time and do your own search on the internet, but avoid the agencies and go directly to the various Rome hotel and b&b home pages.

These same tour operators are also claiming that the hotels have tripled their prices, which in fact they can’t. Rome hotel rooms are supposed to have their minimum and maximum rates posted on the inside of the rooms and are very vulnerable to complaints. Even reputable newspapers keep repeating these accusations, which may well be true in some instances, but are too lazy to try and find out how much of these price hikes are actually going into the tour operators’ pockets.

And since we are giving you hints about saving your money anyway, Rome will be a paradise for pickpockets around May 1. Don’t make things easier for them and make sure that you have your valuables somewhere where prospective thieves will not be able to get to them.

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