What to See at Shrine of Padre Pio
The city of San Giovanni Rotondo takes its name from the Rotonda di San Giovanni, an old building on the edge of the old town.
But the city today is best known for the Shrine of Padre Pio, which centers on his tomb inside the Church of Our Lady of Grace (Santa Maria delle Grazie). Here you can also see his cell, his confessional, the crucifix from which he received the stigmata, and nearly everything he owned or touched, carefully preserved and labeled.
Santa Maria delle Grazie (Our Lady of Grace) is a new church built during Padre Pio’s lifetime (1956-59) to accommodate the many pilgrims and worshippers attracted to San Giovanni Rotondo. The east wall bears a splendid mosaic
Behind Santa Maria delle Grazie is the Padre Pio Pilgrimage Church, completed in 2004 and considered a notable example of modern architecture. Designed by the Genoan architect Renzo Piano, it can accommodate 6,500 people seated at worship and 30,000 people standing outside.
The shrine also includes a modern Way of the Cross (Via Crucis) on the forested hillside above Santa Maria delle Grazie. The Via Crucis monumentale was begun in 1968 (one day before Padre Pio’s death) and completed in 1981. Made of granite with bronze and marble sculptures, it was designed by Sicilian sculptor Francesco Messina.