Park Hotel Bocci, San Giovanni Rotondo ***
This attractive hotel in the Puglian province of Foggia is set within pretty gardens in the historic town of San Giovanni Rotondo. San Giovanni Rotondo is a major destination for pilgrims, and has a wonderful Capuchin Friary with a shrine to Padre Pio. View hotel
Double rooms from €45
Hotel d'Addetta, San Giovanni Rotondo ***
Hotel D'Addetta on Via Foggia, in San Giovanni Rotondo. Well located for the Padre Pio Pilgrimage Church. San Giovanni Rotondo hotels online at ahotelinitaly.com. View hotel
Double rooms from €40
Once an overlooked small town in the Foggia province of Puglia (Apulia) in Italy's deep south, San Giovanni Rotondo has become world famous in recent decades, thanks to the remarkable life of local priest Francesco Forgione. Better known as 'Padre Pio' and now Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, this receiver of miracles lived in the town from 1916 until his death in 1968. Since then, a Padre Pio industry has grown up in and around the town, the cult of Padre Pio first stifled and later accepted and cultivated by the ever-pragmatic Catholic Church.
Sitting in the lee of Monte Calvo, the town receives upwards of seven million pilgrims a year, making this the most visited site of pilgrimage on the planet after Lourdes. If San Giovanni itself gets too much, don't forget that you are in an astonishingly lovely part of southern Italy. The Gargano Promontory pushes out into the Adriatic, rising sharply from the flat Puglian plain of the Tavoliere, and has a lovely mix of landscape - craggy cliffs, sandy beaches, sea lagoons to the north, a mountainous hinterland clad in oaks and beeches. Devotional visitors to San Giovanni Rotondo will also want to visit the shrine at Monte Sant'Angelo. Other nearby towns include Manfredonia (a relatively new town by Puglian standards, being created a mere 600 years ago), Vieste and Peschici.