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A firefighter salutes after placing a wreath on a statue of Mary overlooking the Spanish Steps in Rome (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis made his traditional visit to the statue of Mary by the Spanish Steps in the centre of Rome

A view of the damaged Elephant and Obelisk statue (AP)

The Elephant and Obelisk statue is situated near the Pantheon in Rome

Tourists crowd the bridge leading to Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (CNS)

How to visit Rome in the austerity era

The Catholic Herald’s Rome correspondent knows the Eternal City inside out. Here he offers tips for pilgrims for whom every penny counts

Benedict XVI travels to the Spanish Steps to mark the feast of the Immaculate Conception (Photo: CNS)

Benedict XVI says Mary’s immaculate conception brings joy in annual pilgrimage to Spanish Steps