Guess who stopped by the Vatican yesterday just to say hello to the Pope. It was Spiderman himself!
A man clad in the full, unmistakable skin-tight, red, black and blue costume of the popular comic book and film character, was part of Pope Francis’ general audience in the Vatican’s San Damaso Courtyard.
He was spotted seated in the VIP section, next to a priest who seemed unfazed by the presence of this big white eyed figure sitting within an arm’s reach.
Photos from the event show the Holy Father warmly greeting the comic book superhero and receiving a Spidermanmask from Spidey himself.
Real life Superhero
It soon emerged that the man in the Spiderman costume is a superhero in his own rights. It was 27-year-old Mattia Villardita who hails from Northern Italy, according to Reuters.
It turns out his place in the VIP section was well deserved on account of his magnanimous efforts working with sick children in hospitals. He pays regular visits to different healthcare facilities dressed as Spiderman to spread cheer among ailing children.
Last year, Mattia received recognition from the Italian president, Sergio Mattarella for his acts of kindness and was duly appointed a Knight of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.
Mattia who himself has had varying degrees of health problems since infancy, was recognised for his 'altruism and imaginative initiatives to help alleviate the suffering of the youngest hospital patients.'