The Head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City, Pope Francis on Thursday received the outgoing German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, in the Vatican as she paid a farewell visit to Rome, which includes talks with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.

Merkel and her husband, Joachim Sauer, arrived at the Apostolic Palace, where they went into a private audience with the pope, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.

The visit was the fifth private meeting that Merkel, the daughter of a Protestant pastor and theologian, has held with Francis, who is said to have a high opinion of the German leader.

They were met on arrival by Monsignor Leonardo Sapienza, the prefect of the papal household, before entering the palace.

Merkel is to hold talks with Draghi later in the day.

The outgoing chancellor was then to speak at a peace event being held at the Colosseum.