John Paul II Beautification Packs Rome Hotels

Hotels are in high demand this weekend in Rome as about 1 million visitors swarm the Italian capital for John Paul II's beatification, the third of four steps in the process of becoming a saint in the Catholic Church.

Bloomberg reports the city's 1,000-plus hotels are almost fully booked, with booking services showing some rooms going at double their usual rate.

Church-run hostels and guest houses have also been booked solid since the current pope, Benedict XVI, announced John Paul II's beatification. Sister Emilia of the Giusti Hotel, which is run by nuns of the Saint Ann of Providence order, tells the news outlet they have been "inundated with requests."

Hotel comparison site Trivago says the average going rate per night in Rome this weekend is $370 – higher than the $310 nightly rate for London, where people are gathering for the much anticipated Royal Wedding on Friday.

Rip-off artists have not overlooked the high demand for hotels rooms in Rome. Police have closed six hotels and issued close to $450,000 in fines for hotels that tried to scam tourists by adding up to eight beds to small hotel rooms, Ansa news wire reported last week.

Miraculously, some rooms are still available via a special website that has been set up for last-minute pilgrims seeking lodging. Rooms are going for as low as $235 per night outside of Rome, or $280 and up per night inside the city.

John Paul II's beatification will take place at St. Peter's Basilica, located within Vatican City. A crowd is expected to pack St. Peter's Square, a circular open space in front of the basilica, to watch on giant TV screens.

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