50 years ago: the inauguration of the Paul VI Hall in the Vatican
Wednesday, June 30, 1971, with the first General Audience in the Vatican's new hall, Pope Paul VI inaugurated the so-called "Aula Nervi" designed and built by architect Pier Luigi Nervi.
In his speech, which became at times a lively conversation with the faithful who packed the new hall, Paul VI explained the reasons for having commissioned it, saying it is "now part of the mission of the Roman Pontificate" as he highlighted the importance of the Wednesday appointment with the faithful from all over the world.
Over the last 50 years, the Paul VI Hall has seen five different Popes and welcomed millions of pilgrims. It has been used for many different events, becoming a dining room where Rome's homeless have shared meals with the Pope on special occasions and the venue for the Synod of Bishops. Through the years it has provided the perfect space for thousands of Wednesday General Audiences in the winter months, and most recently, the Hall has even become a Covid-19 vaccination centre for Vatican employees and for those in need.