President Moshe Katsav began a three-day trip to Italy on Tuesday that was to include talks with the country's top officials and a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI, the first official visit to the Vatican by an Israeli head of state.
Katsav met with Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi shortly after his arrival in Rome. Later in the day, he was scheduled to meet with parliament speakers.
On Wednesday Katsav was set to hold talks with Premier Silvio Berlusconi, a strong supporter of Israel in Europe. He was also expected to meet with Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni, who has promoted some Israeli-Palestinian conferences in the capital, as well as Rome's Jewish community.
Katsav's meeting with the pope was scheduled for Thursday.