ROME - Pope Francis left Rome on Saturday for Havana, where he will start his landmark trip to Cuba and the United States.
The Alitalia plane carrying the pope, his entourage and journalists left Fiumicino airport for a flight of nearly 12 hours to the Cuban capital.
The pope will be in Cuba until Tuesday, when he leaves for Washington. Francis will also visit New York and Philadelphia before returning to Rome on Sept. 28.
It is the Argentine pope's first trip to both countries. The Vatican mediated the return to normal diplomatic relations between Cuba and Washington last year.