Vincenzo Gioacchino Pecci, the son of Count Ludovico Pecci, was born in Carpineto on 2nd March, 1810. At the age of eight he was sent to study at the Jesuit school in Viterbo.

After taking a degree in law he was appointed by Pope Gregory XVI as a domestic prelate in 1837. He was sent to Belgium as nuncio in 1843 and three years later became Archbishop of Perugia. In 1853 he was created a cardinal by Pope Pius IX.

Pecci became Pope Leo XIII in 1878. He held enlightened views and in 1883 opened the archives of the Vatican for historical investigations.

Leo XIII was concerned about the growing support for Socialism in the world. In 1891 he published the encyclical On the Condition of the Working Class. In this document he called for far-reaching reforms to create a more just society and to avoid the dangers of a violent revolution.

In 1894 Leo XIII instructed the clergy, monarchists and all Catholics in France to accept the French Republic. He also encouraged the French government to form an alliance with Russia in order the counter the military threat of Germany. Pope Leo XIII died on 20th July, 1903.