After getting a free haircut and a shower, Rome's tramps will soon be able to sleep in a proper bed near the Vatican, as by plans laid out by Pope Francis.

The pontiff intends to open a homeless shelter in the offices of a disused travel agency in the central via dei Penitenzieri, a stones throw from St Peter's Basilica, Vatican sources told Ansa news agency.

The structure just outside the Vatican walls is to house about 30 beds and remain open from dusk to the morning.

It is the latest of a series of charitable initiatives in favour of Rome's homeless that Pope Francis has put in place since taking office, following up on his pledge to deliver "a poor Church for the poor".

He had earlier famously treated several vagrants with front-row seats at a Vatican concert and paid for a round trip to Turin for 120 of them to see the shroud Roman Catholics believe was used to cover Christ's corpse.

In March, another 150 were invited to visit the Sistine Chapel, while a month earlier the pontiff opened a free shower and a barber service under the grand colonnades of St Peter's Square.

Francis's generosity has not gone down well with everyone, as some local residents have lamented that the Holy See has become a magnet for the homeless, with a growing number of them sleeping rough in the surrounding areas. The dormitory is expected to partially address the issue.