St. Peter's Square eerily empty on Christmas Day

But this year, on Friday (December 25) the square was ghostly empty as Covid restrictions placed Italians under a nation-wide lockdown for much of the Christmas and New Year holidays.

The restrictions mean people are not be able to go to St. Peter's Square or the basilica for papal events, all of which have been moved indoors.

The sound of the wind passing through St. Peter's Square replaced the solemn sound of Carabinieri military police band's trumpets and the smiles of the limited number of people allowed to follow Francis' message from the Hall of Blessings inside the Vatican's Apostolic Palace were covered by protective masks.

Since the outbreak began in February, Francis has often encouraged people to respect government regulations aimed at containing the virus.