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'The Gaucho': Vatican Opens Exhibit On Argentine Horsemen

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VATICAN GAUCHO
A visitor looks at a photograph during the unveiling of the exhibition "Argentina. The Gaucho: Tradition, Art and Faith", in the Carlo Magno wing of Bernini's colonnade in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Friday, May 17, 2013. If Pope Francis is getting a bit nostalgic, all he has to do is slip into St. Peter's Square for a dose of Argentine culture. In a remarkable coincidence, a long-planned exhibit on Argentina's famed gauchos opens Friday in the Vatican's exhibit space just off the piazza. | AP

VATICAN CITY -- If Pope Francis is feeling a bit homesick these days, he need only go downstairs to St. Peter's Square.

The Vatican on Friday opened an exhibit on Argentine gauchos, the legendary horsemen of the pampas – a show that's been years in the works and coincidentally opened under the first Argentine pope.

Officials weren't sure when Francis might swing by "The Gaucho: Tradition, Art and Faith," which opened in an exhibition space underneath the piazza's colonnade. But if he goes, he'll find antique silver straws and mate gourds – containers for Argentina's traditional herbal tea – saddles and stirrups, ponchos, documents and a host of gaucho-inspired artwork.

The exhibit also highlights ties between Italy and Argentina, which received waves of Italian immigrants – Francis' ancestors included – over the years.

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