A rust coloured pipe a few metres long will from Tuesday be the focus of millions. It is the chimney which will first announce to the world that a new pope has been elected.
Anxious eyes will be trained on the roof of the Sistine Chapel where on Saturday morning workmen completed the task of securing the chimney three days before the conclave will open.
White smoke rising from this chimney will confirm the election and as is traditional it will precede any public announcement.
“We’re all happy and we’re waiting. Finally there will be a new pope let’s hope he’s going to be as good as the last one,” said Italian tourist, Cinzia Benelli.
The 115 cardinals who will vote met on Saturday to prepare for the conclave on Tuesday. One is reported as saying there are “a half-dozen plausible candidates.”
A two thirds majority is required for the election of the man who will lead the world’s Roman Catholics. It is only then white smoke will rise from the roof of the Sistine chapel.