Pope Francis Pops Into Rome Record Store, Exits With Classical Music CD in Hand

Pope Francis popped into a record store in Rome late Tuesday, exiting with a CD of classical music in hand.

Francis, 85, made an unannounced visit to the store, and a Vatican reporter who happened to be close by captured the visit on camera.

Javier Martinez-Brocal, director of the Rome Reports news agency, said he was in the neighborhood of Rome's pantheon when he saw a white Fiat 500 with Vatican license plates and police cars park in front of the Stereosound shop.

Martinez-Brocal tweeted a black and white photo of the visit, writing a caption in Spanish that translates to read: "The Pope, in a record store in Rome," according to translation from the Catholic News Agency.

Martinez-Brocal also shared a 24-second video of the Pope exiting the store and entering the Fiat.

Francis went inside and stayed for around 12 minutes talking with the owners, Martinez-Brocal reported.

A Vatican spokesman said Francis went to the store to bless it, because it was recently renovated, according to Reuters.

The owner, named Letizia, along with her daughter and son-in-law, are old friends with the pope, a Catholic News Agency translation from a La Stampa report said.

"He already came when he was a cardinal. It was very emotional. We gave him a classical music record as a gift," the owner said, according to a Catholic News Agency translation from a Famiglia Cristiana report.

Pope Francis grew up listening to opera and loves Mozart.

"Among musicians I love Mozart, of course," Francis said, according to a 2013 interview with Classic FM. "The 'Et incarnatus est' from his Mass in C minor is matchless; it lifts you to God! I love Mozart performed by Clara Haskil. Mozart fulfills me."

He also is a fan of Bach and Wagner, Classic FM reported.

This is not the first time the pope has been to a Rome shop, Reuters reported. In 2015, Francis ordered a new pair of eyeglasses from a Rome optician. They were going to be delivered to the Vatican, but Francis decided to pick them up himself.

Pope Francis, Record Store Visit
In this image from video made available by Javier Martinez-Brocal of Rome Reports, Pope Francis leaves a record shop in Rome, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022. Pope Francis grew up listening to the opera on the radio, is a fan of tango and milonga and thinks Mozart "lifts you to God." But it still came as a something of a shock to see him coming out of a downtown Rome record shop. Javier Martinez-Brocal/Rome Reports via AP

The record store owners 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.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.