The church of Padre Pio, known as the Sanctuary of San Pio, is a place of Catholic religious worship in San Giovanni Rotondo, built by the Pasquale Ciuffreda di Foggia company on a project by Renzo Piano, in the territory of the Archdiocese of Manfredonia-Vieste- San Giovanni Rotondo. The inauguration took place on 1 July 2004 in front of over thirty thousand people.
The origins of the village of the4th century BC; Some visible signs of this village, such as tombs and a circular baptism which, according to tradition, was originally intended for the worship of the god Janus and was later consecrated to St. John the Baptist.
The church stands on the mountain of San Giovanni Rotondo and is close to the existing sanctuary and convent where the friar lived and where the remains were kept until he moved to the new church dedicated to him.
Piano chose the shape of a shell for the sanctuary and it was designed on two floors, one of which is underground, in order to provide the sanctuary with all the necessary spaces, in addition to the main liturgical hall and the crypt that houses the remains of Padre Pio, the complex also has three meeting rooms for pilgrims which can be accessed through a large atrium, a reception hall, a large penitentiary, the sacristy, the chapel of the Eucharist. In addition, the large churchyard has been equipped with a large mobile altar that allows to enlarge the 7,200 places of the sanctuary to 30,000 for open-air celebrations.
The main novelty of this project in the field of architecture is the use of a material such as Apricena stone, of which the whole work is made. This performs both structural and coating functions, since, in addition to the arches, it is also used for liturgical furnishings and flooring. The churchyard, built to accommodate the faithful, and the floor of the liturgical hall are both covered in Apricena stone, so that a division between inside and outside is not marked.
Walking down the parvis, you can find veil and olive trees, which emerge from the paved churchyard, the large cross also in Apricena stone overlooking the Gargano, and the bell tower which houses 12 bells and 8 eagles facing towards the church.