Despite the rain, hundreds of tourists and faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square on the first day of the conclave.
Large screens showed the entrance of the 115 voting cardinals to the Sistine Chapel, the site of the conclave.
Each cardinal swore oath of secrecy under Michelangelo's famous Last Judgement frescoes.
Each cardinal had to swear on the Gospel, the penalty -- excommunication.
Archbishop Guido Marini, the master of papal liturgical ceremonies, ordered softly "Extra omnes" — "Everyone out" -- and shut the Sistine Chapel's doors to the world.
Hundreds of tourists and faithful waited in rainy St. Peter's Square with all eyes fixed at large screens displaying on the chimney.
Smoke poured black, showing that no candidate received the 2/3 majority required for election.
The disappointed crowd slowly left the Square.
The 115 voting cardinals will spend the night in the Domus Sanctae Marthae (St. Martha's House), a building inside the Vatican's walls with comfortable hotel-style rooms.
On March 4, Cardinals began arriving to Rome to begin a series of pre-conclave, closed-doors meetings to determine candidates for the papacy.
A dozen voting cardinals are still traveling to reach Rome, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said on Monday.
Breaking with tradition, the Cardinals won't be locked all day under Michelangelo's painted ceiling in the Sistine Chapel.
They will sleep in the nearby Domus Sanctae Marthae guesthouse, which boasts queen size beds, much more comfortable than the dormitories in the Sistine.
According to Vatican historians, this is the most important Congregation of Cardinals since Vatican Council II in the 1960s.
The meetings include prayers, meditation, but most of all the cardinals will be briefed on a secret report to the pope related to the Vatileaks corruption scandal.
However the 115 "Princes of the Church" will have to give up several of the Domus Sanctae Marthae's amenities. The guesthouse boasts rooms equipped with high speed Internet connections, telephones and large screen televisions but once the voting begins, all connections with the outside world will be cut off.
In the unlikely event that a cardinal disobeys the vowing on secrecy, he will be excommunicated, according to one of the last edicts signed by Pope Benedict before his abrupt resignation.
The windows of the papal apartments overlooking St. Peter's Square were shut when the Roman Catholic Church witnessed its first Sunday in nearly eight years without a papal blessing.
To mark the interim period between the end of one papacy and the election of a new pontiff known as “Sede Vacante” or “Vacant See,” the Vatican issued a series of four interregnum postage stamps.
The newly issued stamps repeat a tradition which dates back to 1939, during the transition between Pius XI and Pius XII.
Benedict souvenirs, always overshadowed by his more popular predecessor, are now sold at discount prices in St. Peter's.
"Pilgrims will soon want souvenirs with the new pope," a shopkeeper told Discovery News.
Despite no papal blessing this Sunday, the faithful flocked to the pope-less St. Peter's.
Posters thanking the abdicating Benedict XVI and spoof posters promoting Ghana’s Cardinal Peter Turkson. If elected, Turkson would be the first non-European to lead the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in more than a millennium.
A boost in tourism is expected in Rome during the conclave and the following weeks.