Posted by: gardner310 | December 2, 2012

The Road to Padre Pio

Burial place of Padre Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo

Burial place of Padre Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo

Today was my longest drive yet, 5 hours north to San Giovanni Rotondo, home of Padre Pio on a westward jutting peninsula. What I didn’t realize was that besides being a bit west, San Giovanni is also high in altitude. Got to do the switchback Italian driving up these narrow roads. I stayed Hotel Pace, so far the most basic of properties but it is only 2 blocks from the big shrine and church so the location was perfect. This was, of course, after driving around town in circles for about 20 minutes not finding my road. The shrine is really impressive. Padre Pio is a modern saint, confirmed in 2002. In the Catholic church, it takes a lot to get the title “saint”. At about 25 years old he received the stigmata, replicas of Christ’s wounds from the cross in his hands and feet. He lived with these wounds and pain for 50 years, performing his duties as a Franciscan brother. The shrine is done in tiny mosaics in a large chapel with amazing color, mostly gold. His body rests in the chapel and people come in busloads to visit. Impressive is all I can say. Ended up that night at  Trattoria Antica with wonderful bruschetta, vino rosso and free wifi for a perfect evening.

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