Pope Francis had an unusual encounter this Wednesday with the popular superhero Spiderman at the end of the general audience in the Vatican.

The young man, Mattia Villardita, 28, who has entertained children admitted to pediatric hospitals with his character for four years, shook hands with the pope dressed in the spider-man suit, blue and red, at the end of the audience held in the courtyard of San Damaso.

The street artist, who also disguises himself as Superman, gifted the pontiff with a Spiderman mask.

“The true superheroes are the children who suffer and their families who fight with so much hope.” Villardita commented to the Vatican News media.

Villardita runs an association of volunteers who dress up as superheroes for hospitalized children and said that even during the covid-19 pandemic they were able to continue working.

“I made more than 1,400 video calls, since I could not attend in person,” he said.

Former pediatric patient, as he had to undergo several surgeries due to a congenital disease, Villardita was awarded the honorary knighthood for his work last December by Italian President Sergio Mattarella.

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