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The religious tradition of this region was brought to world prominence by the election of Pope Francis I (Jorge Mario Bergoglio), elected 266th Bishop of Rome and Pope of the Roman Catholic Church on March 13th, 2013. 
It was discovered that his family originally came from the area between Passerano Marmorito and Cocconato d’Asti, in the hills of Lower Monferrato. His Grandparents and his father left for Argentina in February 1929. According to the family tree, the great-great-grandfather Giuseppe Bergoglio was born in 1816 in Schierano, a hamlet of Passerano Marmorito, and his great-great-grandmother Gioacchino Maria, Antonio’s daughter, was born in 1819 in Cocconato d’Asti. After the marriage the Bergoglios moved to Montechiaro, where in 1857 Francesco was born (he will marry Maria Bugnano from San Martino Alfieri). Afterwards, the family moved to Bricco Marmorito, a hamlet in the province of Asti near Portacomaro.
In Portacomaro, in San Bartolomeo parish church registers, the Baptism certificates of many relatives are kept; one of them belonged to Giovanni Bergoglio (1884) his grandfather, who emigrated to Turin in 1906 and married Rosa Vassallo, who was born in Piana Crixia (Ligurian Appenines). Mario Bergoglio, the pope’s father, was born in Turin in 1908, bur afterwards, in July 1818,  the family returned to Asti and opened a food shop. They lived in Via Fontana, Corso Alessandria and Via dell’Antica Zecca, before emigrating to Argentina. Pope Fracis’s father, mother (Regina Sivori from Savona) and grandparents left for Buenos Aires on February 1st, 1929.
Pope Francis was born in 1936 in Buenos Aires, but he has never forgotten his Italian origins and has kept in touch with the relatives in Asti (some of them still live in the house in Bricco Marmorito) and Turin.
Pope Francis is expected to come to the Asti region on the occasion of the 200th Anniversary of Don Bosco’s birth in 2015.
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