Just for the record: Pope Francis pops out of the Vatican to pick up some new vinyl

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Pope Francis has made a rare private foray from the Vatican, dropping in unannounced on a record shop just across the Tiber in the historic centre of Rome.

The Tuesday evening visit to the vinyl and CD shop next to the Pantheon, a vast Roman temple that guards the remains of various Italian royals and the Renaissance painter Raphael, is one of the pope’s few non-official excursions since being elected in 2013.

Francis, 85, is a music aficionado and has previously spoken of his love for classical music, in particular Mozart, Beethoven and Bach.

His visit to the Stereosound shop came to light by chance – a Vatican journalist happened to be passing as the Pope walked out in his white cassock and white skull cap.

The pontiff said nothing as he climbed into a white Fiat 500 with Vatican number plates – the modest car that he favours over the grander vehicles that popes have traditionally travelled in.

“He was here for maybe 20 minutes, just time for us to have a chat. It was an honour, very emotional. He is a great person, a simple man but marvellous,” Tiziana Esposito, one of the owners of the shop, told The Telegraph on Wednesday.

“He used to come here before he became pope, when he was the archbishop of Buenos Aires and visiting Rome.

“This time we gave him a present, a CD, but I’m not telling anyone what it was.”

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