The first sign that one is nearing San Giovanni Rotondo, “the city of Padre Pio,” is the shining white façade of the Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza, often referred to as one of Padre Pio’s miracles: a twelve-hundred-bed hospital erected in what was a barren and forsaken spot when Pio first arrived in 1916.
San Giovanni Rotondo was then no more than a hamlet, connected by a flinty path to the Franciscan monastery and the tiny church of...
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