London, January 18 - Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip have not made plans to visit the Vatican or meet with Pope Benedict XVI on their trip to Rome in March, Church officials said Friday. It would be the queen's first-ever visit to the Italian capital without meeting with the pope. On Thursday Buckingham Palace announced that the royals will pay an official visit to Rome on March 6-7, marking the monarch's fourth-ever trip to the Italian capital. The queen was first in Rome in 1961, during the glamorous postwar boom years epitomized by Federico Fellini's film La Dolce Vita. Her most recent visit was in 2000, and Philip's was in 2005 for Pope Benedict XVI's inaugural mass at the Vatican.
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di Giovanni Pastore