Music-loving pope visits Rome record store

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  • Pope Francis
    Pope Francis
    Religious leader

Pope Francis, a lover of classical music, made a surprise visit to a Rome record store to bless the premises -- and picked up some vinyl while there.

The 85-year-old pontiff slipped into Stereosound, located across from the Pantheon, on Tuesday evening to bless the shop after its recent renovation.

The Argentine pontiff, who has previously spoken of the power of music, has been visiting the little family-run store for decades, well before he became pope.

After Tuesday's trip, he left with a gift -- a 33 RPM record of classical music, according to Vatican News.

"It was a quick visit, immense, great, human, wonderful! I have no other words," Tiziana Esposito, daughter of the shop owner, Letizia Giostra, told AFP.

"He has been coming, as a bishop, archbishop and cardinal, to buy classical music discs, both for himself and as gifts.

"He is a great music lover, of opera, voices. He especially loves Wagner, he knows what he likes."

True to his roots, the pope is also "a great lover of tango", she said, describing him as a "special person".

She confirmed she gave Francis a box set during the visit, which she said lasted around 20 minutes.

While he was inside the shop, which is painted white and filled with CDs and vinyl from the Beatles to classical composers, a small crowd gathered on the street outside.

However, the pope made no public comments as he got into his white Fiat 500L and was driven away.

The previous pope, Benedict XVI, is also known for his love of music, taking great joy in playing Mozart on the piano.

Francis is known for being unpredictable and living simply.

He lives in modest rooms in the Casa Santa Marta guesthouse in the Vatican, carries his own briefcase and makes his own phone calls.

In 2015, two years after being elected head of the world's 1.3 billion Catholics, he went to an optician in central Rome to change his glasses.

The following year, he went to another shop to buy some new orthopaedic shoes.

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