BBC News, 8 July 2013
|The Pope is on his first pastoral visit|
outside Rome since becoming pontiff
He threw a wreath of flowers into the sea, in a sign of mourning. He will celebrate an open-air Mass later.
A small boat carrying 166 Africans - reportedly Eritreans - arrived at Lampedusa's port just hours before the Pope's plane touched down.
The island is struggling to cope with thousands of migrants.
Lampedusa, about 80 miles (120km) from Tunisia, is one of the nearest gateways to Europe for Africans fleeing poverty and conflict.
Tens of thousands of migrants have made the dangerous crossing in recent years, usually packed into rickety wooden boats exposed to the elements.
Francis, an Argentine Jesuit, is on his first pastoral visit outside Rome since his election as Pope in March. He is expected to meet migrants and encourage the local population to help them.
Lampedusa's native population of 6,000 is often outnumbered by thousands of migrants in improvised camps around the island.
The migrants are normally transported to reception centres on the Italian mainland to be identified and ease the burden on Lampedusa.