Pope Francis surprised both locals and tourists on Thursday when he visited an optician near Rome’s Spanish Steps to get his lenses replaced for his eyeglasses.
“I don’t want to change the frames,” he told the owner of the shop. “Just new lenses.”
Alessandro Spiezia, whose business is located on Via del Babuino in the heart of Rome’s most famous shopping district, told The Associated Press he was supposed to go the Vatican on Wednesday, but the Pope’s secretary informed him Pope Francis wanted to instead go to his shop. He made the original pair of glasses for the Holy Father last year.
Pope Francis was in the shop for about 40 minutes, because Spiezia also gave him an eye exam. While this was going on, a large crowd started gathering outside the shop to look at the Pope.
At the end of the encounter, Pope Francis made sure to settle his bill, saying “Please, Alessandro, let me pay what is owed.”
The Pope then got into his Ford Focus, accompanied by a driver, and returned to the Vatican.