Faith and Traditions

Description

The town of Sotto il Monte is deeply connected to its most famous citizen: Angelo Roncalli, better known as Pope John XXIII or the Good Pope. Not only was he born here and completed his first physical and spiritual steps, but it was also the place he returned to regularly throughout his life.

The sanctuaries and nature here seem to be designed specifically to encourage meditation and relaxation. From the main sanctuary of San Giovanni XXIII to the quieter and peripheral Sancturary of Caneve. Places where you can find a bit of inner peace are easy to find in Bergamo, as testified by the earthly life of the Holy Saint of Bergamo.

Come and find out where he was born and baptized, or go and take a walk in the surrounding woods and get something to eat or drink at JXXIII Café of the Casa del Pellegrino.


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The town of Sotto il Monte is deeply connected to its most famous citizen: Angelo Roncalli, better known as Pope John XXIII or the Good Pope. Not only was he born here and completed his first physical and spiritual steps, but it was also the place he returned to regularly throughout his life.

The sanctuaries and nature here seem to be designed specifically to encourage meditation and relaxation. From the main sanctuary of San Giovanni XXIII to the quieter and peripheral Sancturary of Caneve. Places where you can find a bit of inner peace are easy to find in Bergamo, as testified by the earthly life of the Holy Saint of Bergamo.

Come and find out where he was born and baptized, or go and take a walk in the surrounding woods and get something to eat or drink at JXXIII Café of the Casa del Pellegrino.


Prima tappa - Sotto il Monte

The ideal route starts from his birthplace, a typical nineteenth century farmhouse, where you will be greeted by a young Angelo Roncalli, who, in a video, will ask questions and guide you on your path. On the first floor you can see the room where the pope was to be born. From his earthly birthplace to his spiritual birthplace: walk a short distance and you will find the church of Santa Maria in Brusicco, where he was baptized. Continuing along the road you'll arrive at the Sanctuary of Caneve, a special place which was very special for John XXIII from an early childhood.

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The ideal route starts from his birthplace, a typical nineteenth century farmhouse, where you will be greeted by a young Angelo Roncalli, who, in a video, will ask questions and guide you on your path. On the first floor you can see the room where the pope was to be born. From his earthly birthplace to his spiritual birthplace: walk a short distance and you will find the church of Santa Maria in Brusicco, where he was baptized. Continuing along the road you'll arrive at the Sanctuary of Caneve, a special place which was very special for John XXIII from an early childhood.

1Santa Maria in Brusicco

This is the church from where Angelo Roncalli’s spiritual journey begins. In fact, the future pope was baptized here on November 25th, 1881.

Today, it holds a symbol of his earthly life’s end: the gravestone that used to cover his tomb in the Vatican Grottoes.

Of course the history of the building is much older. It dates back to the XV Century and it’s even decorated with a beautiful “St. Anthony of Padua” ascribed to Ceresa. 

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2Santuario delle Caneve

In the woods you can find the real peace and the Sanctuary of the “Madonna delle Caneve” proves it. The religious building dates back to the XIV Century, even though it underwent several changes during the XVIII Century. Its fame is mostly due to the most famous of its pilgrims, the future Pope John XXIII, who started to go to this place when he was just a child and kept the habit of saying Mass here once a year, even after he had become Patriarch of Venice.

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Second part - Sotto il Monte

The parish church, consecrated by Bishop Angelo Roncalli, is now at the center of pilgrim’s devotion. Next to it you can find the Chapel of Peace, which contains a 70,000 piece wood inlay depicting the Good Pope. The path outdoors will lead you to the chance to enjoy a quiet moment, or help you prepare before entering the crypt containing the casts of the face and hand of John XXIII made by Manzu.

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The parish church, consecrated by Bishop Angelo Roncalli, is now at the center of pilgrim’s devotion. Next to it you can find the Chapel of Peace, which contains a 70,000 piece wood inlay depicting the Good Pope. The path outdoors will lead you to the chance to enjoy a quiet moment, or help you prepare before entering the crypt containing the casts of the face and hand of John XXIII made by Manzu.

3Parish Church and Peace Chapel

The Church of San Giovanni Battista (Saint John the Baptist) is tied hand in glove with the Good Pope. In 1902, when the laying of the foundation stone was sanctified, he stood among the crowd, too, as a simple seminary student. Afterwards, it was closed due to infiltrations and was later restored. When it opened back, in 1929, the bishop Angelo Roncalli consecrated it once again. Next to it, you can also visit the Cappella della Pace (the Peace Chapel), guarding a stunning inlay work made of 70.000 wood pieces!

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4Oboedientia et Pax” Crypt

It’s impossible to enter this place without feeling its sacredness. Indeed, the crypt is the most intimate and cosy space of the entire sanctuary. The life sculptures of the hand and the face of John XXIII, realized by the Bergamo sculptor Giacomo Manzù right after his death, would be sufficient to make it a special place. The crucifix located in front of the case enriches it even more, reminding of what the Good Pope had always wanted to be in front of his own bed.

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5Giardino della Pace - Garden of Peace

There’s nothing better than a nice walk to relax and concentrate one’s thoughts. In the Garden of Peace (“Giardino della Pace”) you’ll be also encouraged by the beauty of the environment, the charm of the architectures, and most of all by the numerous spiritual quotations by John XXIII, engraved on brass plaques placed all along the route. The itinerary crosses the whole garden, up to the most spiritual place, the crypt, embraced by the hands of the Saint’s statue.

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Terza tappa - Sotto il Monte

The territory of Sotto il Monte is a place of incredible natural beauty and breathtaking scenic views. Maybe that’s why Pope John XXIII returned there throughout his life, making Ca Maitino his summer residence. Now the building has been entrusted to nuns and has become a museum, where you can see some important artifacts from its former owner. Unfortunately the church of San Giovanni Battista, to which the young Angelo Roncalli was very attached, was not able to be saved and now only the tower remains.

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The territory of Sotto il Monte is a place of incredible natural beauty and breathtaking scenic views. Maybe that’s why Pope John XXIII returned there throughout his life, making Ca Maitino his summer residence. Now the building has been entrusted to nuns and has become a museum, where you can see some important artifacts from its former owner. Unfortunately the church of San Giovanni Battista, to which the young Angelo Roncalli was very attached, was not able to be saved and now only the tower remains.

6San Giovanni Tower

History left its mark on this place. Around the year Thousand a fortification was erected; afterwards, one of its towers was turned into a beautiful Romanesque belfry, next to which the first parish church was built. The ancient XIV Century building was reshaped during the XVIII Century, but sadly it’s no longer visible today.  In fact, the old church of San Giovanni was demolished in 1904, causing great sorrow to Angelo Roncalli, who loved it very much. 

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7Camaitino - The House Museum of Pope Giovanni XXIII

The Good Pope’s summer residence is now a place for relaxation and spirituality open to everyone.

Managed by the “Suore Poverelle” (Poor Ladies Nuns), nowadays the farmstead instils both spiritual and cultural concentration. John XXIII’s personal secretary, Monsignor Loris Capovilla, set up a little museum displaying a lot of testimonies of its renowned lodger.

Among these, the altar on which he used to say Mass in Vatican and the bed where he passed away. 

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