Rome, Italy

Pope Francis grew up listening to the opera on the radio, is a fan of Argentine tango and thinks Mozart “lifts you to God".

But it still came as a something of a shock to see the 85-year-old pontiff coming out of a downtown Rome record shop late Tuesday with a CD in hand. He had made an unannounced visit that was caught on camera by a Vatican reporter who happened to be nearby.

Italy Rome Pope at record shop

In this image from video made available by Javier Martinez Brocal of Rome Reports, Pope Francis leaves a record shop in Rome, on Tuesday, 11th January. PICTURE: Javier Martinez Brocal/Rome Reports via AP.

Javier Martinez-Brocal, director of the Rome Reports news agency, said he was in the neighbourhood of Rome’s Pantheon when he noticed a white Fiat 500 with Vatican license plates and some police cars parked in front of the Stereosound shop. 

Francis had slipped inside and stayed for about 12 minutes, chatting with the owners, Martinez-Brocal reported. 

They then recounted what had transpired: It turns out the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was a customer during his visits to Rome, and had promised them he’d come visit when he met with them at the Vatican.

Francis, an Argentine whose love of tango and milonga is well known, didn’t buy anything. But the shop owners gave him a CD of classical music, Martinez-Brocal wrote.