.- Only two days before John Paul II's beatification, the late pontiff's face has become an inescapable part of Rome.
Roman streets, homes, buses, walls, cars and small businesses are covered with pictures, posters or ads sporting the smiling face of the Pope who – during the 27 years of his pontificate – became a “Romano di Roma” (a Roman from Rome.)
Some of the signs placed by local authorities announce the activities related to the beatification weekend, from the massive vigil at the Circo Massimo, to several plays and exhibitions related to Pope Wojtyla across the city.
Most libraries throughout the area, including the famous Feltrinelli, have filled their windows with books related to John Paul II, from biographies, photo collections and encyclicals.
Those selling t-shirts, rosaries, booklets, medals and statues of Pope John Paul II at Piazza Navona – one of Rome's popular city squares – told CNA that sales of products related to the late Pope have increased 15 to 20 per cent in the last few days, as thousands of pilgrims from Italy and around the world pour into the city.