The Padre Pio Shrine in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy is a popular Catholic pilgrimage shrine. About seven million pilgrims a year flock to Santa Maria delle Grazie Church (dedicated in 1676) to pay homage to Padre Pio, a well-known Italian saint who died there 40 years ago. Here's information about visiting the shrine, transportation to San Giovanni Rotondo, and nearby hotels.
Padre Pio came to the Capuchin monastery in San Giovanni Rotondo in 1916 and made his home there for 52 years until his death in 1968. Besides being devoted to God, he was known for his care of the sick and supernatural powers. He was declared a saint in 2002.
In April, 2008, the saint's body was exhumed and put on display in a glass coffin in Santa Maria delle Grazie sanctuary. Because of the huge number of visitors coming to view the body, the body will remain on display through September, 2009, and then be returned to the crypt of the Santa Maria delle Grazie church.
Visiting Padre Pio Shrine
The shrine is open daily and is currently free (2008). Visitors can see where Padre Pio said mass, his cell that still contains books and clothing that belonged to him, and the Sala San Francesco where he greeted the faithful. There's a gift shop and a pilgrim's office where English is spoken. On the forested hillside above the church is a modern Way of the Cross, Via Crucis.
Due to the huge number of pilgrims, the modern Padre Pio Pilgrimage Church was built in 2004 behind Santa Maria delle Grazie Church. It was designed by architect Renzo Piano and can hold 6,500 people seated for worship and 30,000 people standing outside. Daily masses are held in the new church as well as in Santa Maria delle Grazie.
A Commemoration of Padre Pio is celebrated with a torchlight procession and religious ceremonies September 23 in San Giovanni Rotondo. There are hundreds of stalls selling religious items and more celebrations for several days around September 23.
San Giovanni Rotondo TransportationSan Giovanni Rotondo is 180 miles east of Rome on the Gargano Promontory in southern Italy's Puglia region. Take a look at our Puglia map for its location.
The train station in Foggia is on several main rail lines. Frequent buses connect Foggia train station to San Giovanni Rotondo, taking about 40 minutes. The smaller San Severo train station is closer and also has connecting buses on weekdays.
See How to Get from Rome to Padre Pio Shrine for train and bus options from Rome.
The closest airport is in Bari, about 90 miles away (see Italy Airports map).
Local bus lines connect the sanctuary to other parts of town.
San Giovanni Rotondo Hotels
San Giovanni Rotondo has a small historic center. In town there are restaurants, shops, and hotels. Many new hotels have been built in or near the town to accommodate the increased number of visitors.
- La Solaria (book direct) is a 3-star hotel very near the shrine with a restaurant and private parking area.
- Hotel Leon (book direct) is a newly built and highly-rated 3-star hotel outside the historic center. They offer shuttle service to the shrine, about 2km from the hotel.
- Le Terrazze sul Gargano (book direct) is within walking distance of the shrine and has terraces and a restaurant.
- Bed and Breakfast Santa Lucia (book direct) is an inexpensive option within walking distance of the sanctuary.
- Here are more San Giovanni Rotondo Hotels with guest ratings and reviews on Venere (book direct).
More about Padre Pio ShrineThe Pilgrim's Italy: A Travel Guide to the Saints (compare prices) is a book about Pilgrimage sites in Italy. It includes a chapter on Padre Pio and the new church in San Giovanni Rotondo.
Saint Pio Shrine web site