The Pope also received Spider-Man at a meeting on Wednesday at the Vatican.
The latter happened in the section of dignitaries and sat, among other things, next to a black-clad clergyman, who did not seem at all surprised by the tight-fitting red, black, and blue clothes of his masked neighbour. Some observers have been surprised by the arrival of the cartoon character in the opulent courtyard of San Damaso in the papal palace.
But Italian media reported that Pope Francis’ special guest is 27-year-old Mattia Villardetta. He had to undergo surgery until he was 14 due to a birth defect. Later, as Spider-Man, he went to visit critically ill patients in hospitals to relieve their suffering. He received a high award from President Sergio Mattarella at the end of last year.
Villardita came up with the idea for his portrayal of Spider-Man over two years ago during a conversation with the director of a children’s hospital. Villardita is also the founder of “Supereroincorsia” (Unity Superheroes), a group of young people who volunteer and offer moments of solace to young patients like clinics.
“Lifelong food practitioner. Zombie geek. Explorer. Reader. Subtly charming gamer. Entrepreneur. Devoted analyst.”