The Pope has been invited to visit Malta and Gozo.
President of Malta issued the formal invitation during a meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Monday.
Dr George Vella described Francis as ‘a real man of the people’.
The President told reporters: ‘It was amazing, just like talking to someone who is a good friend.
‘He is really down to earth and totally understands the Maltese way of life and our culture.’
At the end of the private audience, the Pope and the President exchanged gifts.
The Pope was given a mosaic of the Madonna Ta’ Pinu, created by the Eikon arts centre in Gozo.
The President will meet his Italian counterpart, Sergio Mattarella, on Tuesday.