Papa Francesco and his Italian Side
Live Streaming from St Peter’s Square – in diretta da Roma
March 13, 2013
Dual Citizenship: Collecting Documents (continued)
March 18, 2013

As all the world knows, the new Pope elected on March 13 2013 is Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
He comes from Argentina and he took Francesco as his name as Pope.
San Francesco (St Francis), born in Assisi in the Umbria region, is the most beloved and venerated saint in Italy. Even more: San Francesco is the patron saint of Italy.
By choosing this name, the new Pope entered into the hearts of all Italians passing all the initial doubts (typical Italian!) following the election of a foreign Pope.

As he himself said in his first speech, he comes “from almost the end of the world”, thinking about the distance between Argentina and Italy.
In fact, no Pope has ever come from so far away.
But although so far away from Rome, Francesco has his own “Italian Side”.
Born 76 years ago in Buenos Aires, the new Pope descended from a family originally from Portacomaro, Asti province, in Piemonte.
An old picture of Portacomaro (ItalianSide archive)
click to enlarge
Giovanni Bergoglio and his family (Ansa)
His grandfather Giovanni Bergoglio had arrived in Argentina in 1929 with his wife Rosa and his sons, among whom was Mario Jose, father of Jorge Mario.
The Pope did not speak Italian at home because his father preferred not to speak Italian with his children, but Francesco still remembers when he used to go to the house of his grandparents to find Nonna Rosa who spoke Piemontese with her husband.

And…. he learned to speak Piemontese
It’s a story that reminds the life of many Italians abroad.
Not many years ago, he wanted to return to Portacomaro: of that trip he keeps a photo of the house from where his father left and a handful of soil, the land of his ancestors.

Auguri Francesco!