Pope Francis has crossed the Tiber River for a visit to Rome’s city hall.

He praised the ancient city for its ability to integrate diverse peoples over centuries of its existence.

During his visit to the Rome’s City Hall on Tuesday, Francis said that “Rome, over its nearly 2,800 years of history, has been able to welcome and integrate different populations and people from all over the world … without humiliating or crushing their respective peculiar characteristics and identity”.

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Pope Francis is welcomed by Rome’s mayor Virginia Raggi (Ettore Ferrari/AP)

He also warned against letting the Eternal City become degraded now.

Rome is struggling with problems of rubbish removal, potholed streets and other issues of decay that have worsened on the watch of mayor Virginia Raggi.

She welcomed him to the Capitoline Hill, where city hall is located.