According to her spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, Trump was greeted by the children in unison with a “Ciao Melania.”
“She went in the children’s [intensive care unit], which was very emotional,” Grisham said. “She spoke to them in Italian, she signed bandages and she took lots of selfies.”
The president himself wrote a letter to Pope Francis asking if the first lady could visit the hospital, stressing the fact that it was very important to her.
The first lady visited with children from nine countries and handed out gifts, including backpacks from the White House which contained coloring supplies.
Bambino Gesù was the first pediatric facility in Italy. It is now run by the Catholic Church and provides free health care and housing for approximately 3,500 families.
The hospital houses roughly 600 patients, with some children coming from as far as Iraq and Nepal.
It is the largest pediatric research center in Europe.
Before leaving, Melania Trump left a messag,e telling the children “Great visiting you! Stay strong & positive!”
— Bambino Gesù (@bambinogesu) May 24, 2017
Besides her native Slovenian, Trump speaks fluent English and is knowledgeable in German, French, Italian and Serbo-Croatian.
Before leaving, the first lady stopped by the hospital’s chapel and lit a candle in front of a tapestry of Jesus.
The president and first lady also met with Pope Francis on Wednesday. Following traditional dress code for private papal visits, Trump wore a black veil and formal black long sleeved clothing.