Where the Good Pope was born
Angelo Roncalli was born at 10.15 am on 25th November 1881, in a typical Lombardy farmhouse in Sotto il Monte, in the province of Bergamo. Seventy-seven years later, white smoke announced his election as pope, under the name John XXIII. He was so loved by worshippers that he is remembered as the “Good Pope” and was so important to his hometown that the municipality officially changed its name, after his death, to Sotto il Monte Giovanni XXIII.
Here, still today, you can retrace the footsteps of the Good Pope by visiting his birthplace, a simple, rural setting surrounded by a large farmyard. On the antique pink walls, you can see the Vatican flags and flowers that adorn the balconies and rustic wooden staircase. In the centre, a large tree provides shade. There is an air of spirituality in the room where Pope Roncalli came into this world. A portrait of the Virgin Mary hangs over the bed of his parents and a secretary desk, the only witnesses to the birth of a pope who, through his genuine simplicity, changed the face of the Catholic Church in less than five years.