What Are Donald, Melania and Ivanka Trump Doing in Italy?

Trump in Rome
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive at the Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport in Rome, Italy on May 23. They will meet Pope Francis on May 24. Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

Updated | President Donald Trump landed in Italy Tuesday evening, his first visit to a European country as U.S. leader and part of his four-nation foreign trip that started in Saudi Arabia. He was greeted at Leonardo da Vinci airport by Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano before being transported to the residence of the U.S. ambassador in Rome.

The first item on the president’s agenda is a much-anticipated meeting with Pope Francis on Wednesday morning at the Vatican. First lady Melania Trump and first daughter Ivanka Trump will also participate in the meeting with the Pontiff, as they did when they visited the Western Wall Monday during Trump’s stay in the Middle East.

Afterward, the family will split, each of the three Trumps headed in different directions. President Trump will follow institutional protocol, meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella at his residence in the Quirinal hill and later with Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni at the residence of the U.S. ambassador to Italy. The three statesmen will meet again a few days later on the island of Sicily, in Taormina, where the leaders of the G7 nations will hold their annual summit.

For Melania and Ivanka Trump, the visit to the Italian capital will continue the focus on religion, specifically the work of two Catholic charitable organizations, according to the Italian news agency Ansa.

The first lady will visit the Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital in the Gianicolo area, the first children’s hospital in Italy. Established in 1869, the hospital was donated to the Holy See in 1924 and for the past 90 years it has provided free healthcare to hundreds of children.

Trump Pope Graffiti A woman walks past a mural signed by "TV Boy" and depicting Pope Francis and U.S. President Donald Trump kissing, on a wall in downtown Rome. The Trump family will meet Pope Francis on May 24. Tony Gentile/Reuters

Around 16 percent of the children at the hospital come from foreign countries, including the Central African Republic, Syria and Nepal. The hospital also provides free accommodation to around 3,500 families a year, as well as being the the largest sub-specialty children’s hospital and research center in Europe.

While the hospital frequently receives celebrities and foreign dignitaries, including a visit from the Princess of Wales Lady Diana in 1985, this is the first time a U.S. First Lady will visit the facility.

Ivanka Trump will instead venture further south in the western riverbank of the Tiber river, to the Trastevere, where she will visit the Community of Sant’Egidio, a lay organization present in more than 70 countries throughout the world. Solidarity with the poor and the vulnerable has been one of the community’s guiding principles, and has lately focused on providing humanitarian corridors for refugee families.

In her visit, Ivanka Trump is expected to meet female victims of human trafficking as well as members of the organizations who deal with this and other human rights issues. Trump has made women’s rights a focus of her role in the White House, and Saudi Arabia made a donation to a fund she inspired after her visit Tuesday.

This article has been updated to reflect the Trumps arrival in Italy.