The church of Santa Maria delle Grazie with the adjoining convent is nowadays universally known for being the place where it lived, since 1916, and died Padre Pio of Pietrelcina.
The construction of the ancient church and the convent began in 1538 by the inhabitants of San Giovanni Rotondo, with the approval of the Bishop of Siponto. Work began in 1540 and ended in July 1676.
On a project by the architect Giuseppe Gentile di Boiano, the works of the large church began on 2 July 1956 and its consecration took place on 1 July 1959.The next day, Cardinal Federico Tedeschini crowned the mosaic of the virgin with the title of "Madonna delle Grazie", to which were added the figures of Saint Pio and an angel.
The ancient church has a rectangular plan and has a simple façade, decorated with a portal with a frescoed lunette, a small rose window and a central sailing bell tower. The interior has a single nave, in Baroque style, with four side chapels, decorated by the saints to whom they are entitled. The main altar is decorated with a wooden fresco of the Madonna and Child, surrounded on both sides by St. John the Baptist and the Evangelist.
At the secondary entrance of the convent, there is the cell of Padre Pio open for visits.Inside the convent there is also the crypt where the body of Padre Pio was housed before being transferred to the nearby sanctuary designed by Renzo Piano. From the crypt you can access a path that crosses the convent allowing you to visit some of the places where Padre Pio lived, such as the cell and the choir of the ancient church where Padre Pio received the stigmata.
The new church has a rectangular plan with three naves: the gabled façade is marked at the base by seven loggias, three of which are open as portals. At the center there is the main window, surrounded on both sides by two rows of rectangular, slender and high windows. On the right there is the sacristy with the concert of bells at the top, which sound like peal of the hammers. The interior is in green marble, with three naves, with cross vaults and an altar in red marble, with the mosaic of the Madonna delle Grazie with Child, by Tedeschini.Under the Madonna, Padre Pio is ascending.