Rome, Vatican tourists ‘popeless, not hopeless'

Posted: 03/11/13 at 10:10 am EDT      Last Updated: 03/11/13 at 12:06 pm EDT

ROME (WHDH) -- At first glance, it's your typical Sunday scene in Vatican City. Tourists pose for pictures, others buy spiritual trinkets and the faithful flock to Saint Peter's Square to catch a glimpse of its famed basilica.

But this Sunday, and this week is anything but typical, since the Catholic Church is without its spiritual leader.

For vender Alfredo Quierelli, no traditional Sunday blessing from the pope at his window means less money in his pocket.

"Catholic people, they want to buy something for the blessing of the pope. Maybe next Sunday," said Quierelli.

The cardinals have been meeting all week and getting to know each other with the hope of quickly picking a pope once conclave starts.

“The Italians have a saying - ‘You can only make gnocchi with the dough you’ve got’ so what we say is that we want to be good dough for the Holy Spirit to work through and I think we’re almost there,” said Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York.

So while there might be a new chimney on the top of the Sistine Chapel, down on the streets it's pretty much business as usual for tourists.

"It's a funny week, actually yesterday I met an American lady and I said to her, are you a bit disappointed that you’re here on holiday when there’s no pope sitting and she said, ‘Honey, we’re popeless, not hopeless,’ - I thought that was a good one," said one tourist.

Definitely a good day to be in Rome.

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