San Giovanni Rotondo, a small village in the heart of the Gargano National Park, is an important center of international religious tourism, thanks to the figure of San Pio da Pietrelcina, better known as Padre Pio.
San Giovanni is located on the slopes of Monte Calvo, the highest peak of the promontory, in a valley in the middle of the Gargano 600 m above sea level, 20 km from Monte Sant'Angelo and 30 from Foggia.
The origins of the village date back to the year one thousand and its foundation took place on the ruins of a pre-existing village of the 4th century B.C.; some visible signs of this village remained, such as tombs and a circular baptistery which, according to tradition, was originally intended for the worship of the god Janus and was later consecrated to St. John the Baptist.
Padre Pio arrived in San Giovanni Rotondo in 1916 and he dedicated his life to the service of the Church, promoting the birth of the Prayer Groups and the realization of charitable works, first of all the Hospital "Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza", defined as "temple of prayer and science" by himself, inaugurated on May 5 in 1956 and recognized for a decade as" Institute of Hospitalization and Care of a Scientific Character ".
The institute is located next to the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, where the remains of the Saint are kept, the fulcrum of devotion, a place of constant pilgrimages, now enclosed in the new complex designed by Renzo Piano.
The historic center is an almost exclusively residential area. The old part of the city is made up of a network of close bonds and suggestive corners that reproduce images of an ancient past. Very important is its patrimony of churches, in fact walking through the village you can find the church of San Giuseppe Artigiano, the church of San Nicola, the church of Santa Caterina (the oldest in the town), the mother church of San Leonardo, the recently restored church of Sant'Orsola, the church of the Madonna di Loreto, the church of Sant'Onofrio and finally the ancient church of San Giovanni Battista from the III-II century B.C.
NOTE: distances are set as the crow flies.