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Pope statue unveiled in Italian potato field
Giuseppe Imperatore artist and sculptor (L) Barbato De Stefano (C) and Antonio De Stefano adjust the vestments of a statue depicting Pope Francis in a small field of potatoes -to symbolise the Italian Piemont region, where the Bergoglio family comes from- in Cicciano, a small village in southern Italy on May 20, 2013. The statue was shown the day before during the local festival and the inhabitants want to bring it to Pope Francis at the Vatican in June. AFP PHOTO/MARIO LAPORTA.
NAPLES (AFP).- The first-ever statue of Pope Francis has been unveiled in a potato field near Naples -- an unorthodox homage to the fact that the Argentine pope's ancestors were farmers in northern Italy.

The statue will be presented to the pope next month by Italian actor Barbato De Stefano, who comes from the village of Cicciano where it was presented and has financed the project.

"The poverty of my village is a treasure for the community in which I was born and grew up," said De Stefano, who praised the pope's own modest demeanour saying he had "pierced people's hearts".

The primitive-style statue was shown on Sunday, with a painted background of the balcony of St Peter's Basilica on which the pope stood after his election at a conclave of cardinals in March.

De Stefano said that next month he will present the pope with the statue, which has as its background the balcony of St Peter's Basilica on which the pope stood after his election in March.

The 76-year-old pope was formerly the archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio.

Like many Italians, his parents emigrated to Argentina between the First and Second World Wars.



© 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse



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