“An ancient path, between fields and forests, made by Angelino Roncalli, the future Pope, used to go to school, to take a walk alone, or to go to the College of Celana, at age 11.”
So reads the text on the hand-carved memorial stones along the way.
Pope John XXIII, during his childhood, from his birthplace of Sotto il Monte, was used to taking three paths to go to the places most dear to him. He was forever linked, to not only his native land, but these places.
The most known and popular now is the path Angelino Roncalli, already eleven years old, used to walk to get to school at the College of Celana Caprino and then, from seminarian and as a priest, he retraced his steps and lengthened the path until San Antonio and San Gregorio, as a relaxing walk.
The other two paths which the future Pope John was particularly fond of were, from Carvico and Villa d’Adda, to go to the Madonna del Bosco and the one leading to Imbersago (ferry).
The route, from Sotto il Monte in Celana and up to San Gregorio, undervalued for a long time, was recently recovered and restored for walkers and pilgrims. Now it is a real trip down memory lane.
It has been also improved with the installation of commemorative stone indicators at stopping points (five to Celana, seven to San Antonio and San Gregorio), and with the installation of new signage at thanks to the Associazione Monvico and other public institutions and private entities.
The path, which runs from the birthplace of Pope John XXII, touches the Mulini a Carvico, the small town of Valle of Villa d’Adda, to Faida and Ca De Rizzi in Pontida; then jt crosses the main road and goes back toward the town of Ombria in Celana Caprino to continue to Sant’Antonio di Caprino, finally ending at San Gregorio of Cisano.
The route, now a favorite amongst hikers, stretches for 11.7 km until reaching Celana (15 to San Gregorio) through forests and towns.
Here we propose a circular route that provides the first leg following the route of Pope John XXIII’ from Sotto il Monte to Celana Caprino (college) and the return instead going from Pontida (Abbazia di S. Giacomo) and going back up to path 898 to Fontanella (Abbazia di S. Egidio) from where you make it back to Sotto il Monte following the 893 path.
There are 22 total km (11.7 km in round 10.5 in return) for long yet easy, up and down trip, (elevation of 275 to 500 m; gain / loss in elevation: 1021 / -1022 m) walkable in about 6 hours (3 outward, three in back) total.
The route is feasible by both mountain bike and on foot.
Sotto il Monte – Celana: a trail in the footsteps of the future Pope John
We start in Sotto il Monte, from the birthplace of Pope John, next to the Church of Santa Maria di Brusicco, where he was baptized as Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli. A must visit, the birthplace and the church, where there is space to park your car.
At the first commemorative stone, at the entrance of the birthplace, indicates the beginning of the route, well marked by the signs placed on the road that guides the way.
Download the app Visit Isola Bergamasca to discover the gpx track and find your way on the map.
We start in Sotto il Monte, from the birthplace of Pope John, next to the Church of Santa Maria di Brusicco, where he was baptized as Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli.
The church where he was baptized as Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli …
Wills in Carvico …
Chiesa di San Bernardino in the small town of Valle …
The town of Acquedotto and the third commemorative stone …
Ca’ de’ Rizzi and the Santuario dell’Addolorata. (Sanctuary of the Addolorata) …
Abbazia di Pontida. Monastero San Giacomo (Pontida Abbey. San Giacomo Monastery …
Abbazia di San Egidio a Fontanella (San Edgidio Abbey in Fontella) …