Friday, October 07, 2005

Il Gargano – San Giovanni Rotondo – Monte San Angelo

I am not the type of person to go on religious pilgrimages so why am I talking about 2 strictly religious destinations. At the beginning of the networking and Internet expansion I was asked to design a secure network to connect 7 of the long term care institutes of the Padre Pio foundation. These are located in San Giovanni Rotondo. I was amazed to see the number of people that arrived every day in this little town. These people were not your typical vacationers. Most had little money and had spent most of their funds just getting there.

This is a religious pilgrimage for excellence. San Michele, the archangel Michael, is the patron saint of Foggia and many of his miracles are attributed to the cavern of San Michele in Sant Angelo on the Gargano. A sanctuary rises above the cavern where it is said that the image of the saint is burned into the walls of rock. The medieval town of Monte S. Angelo has retained its original look and feel. Divided in zones slightly larger than courtyards you find small shops and restaurants around every corner.

The town is located above the cliffs overlooking the coastline and the panoramic view of the beaches can be seen from most parts of the town. This is an interesting place to take a daytrip.

Further into the Gargano is San Giovanni Rotondo. Millions of pilgrims arrive every year to visit the sanctuary of Padre Pio. It is highly unlikely that you will be able to park in the town unless you are checking into one of the healthcare facilities. Busses will bring you to primary plaza from which you have a marvelous panoramic view of the Gargano. A large Avenue leads right up to the Sanctuary and along the way you can find all sorts of religious paraphernalia. Most of the hotels are family operated and they can direct you to find just about anything you might need or desire regarding Padre Pio. Remember visitors do not come to these areas for the food or wine so you should not expect anything really special.


Labels: , , , ,


Blogger anna said...

I have been to San Giovanni several times now (as this is the birth place of my father) and have seen the town develop over the last few years due to the tourism generated from Padre Pio's benification. However, I still feel the town retains it's charm, and love visiting. I love the family orientated feel of the place and the fact that service in restaurants and hotels will generally be second to none because of the family-owned nature of many of the businesses. I have found that dining out in the small restuarants and tratoria's to be excellent value for money (with delicious food always supplemented by good locally produced wine). The panoramic view over the town and beyond from the bus plaza, on a sunny day is awesome. San Giovanni is also an ideal base from which you can explore the Garagno area - it has a wide range of excellent hotels that are all certainly good value for money, compared to the more usual italian holiday destinations. You can visit Manfredonia- a nearby sea side resort, if you want sun, sea and sand; Foggia - for the city; take a walk and picnic in the Gragano forest (just a little further on from Padre Pio's old church); visit the (just recently completed) amazing and awe inspiring new church (designed by renown architect Renzo Piano);or venture to the other little towns in the region which still retain their authentic Italian charms (San Marco in Lamis; Sannicandro etc.) If you are after a genuine taste of Italian life and culture without the spoils of mass tourism, San Giovanni is a definate destination to bear in mind! If you like a relaxed atmosphere, you should really consider this as an option. And with cheap flights from the UK with Ryannair (to Bari or Pescara- from as little as £30 return)it certainly is worth penciling in for a long weekend.

3:28 PM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

Anna - Thank you for commenting. S.Giovanni is a marvelous place!

Over the years I have worked with many great people and organizations there. From the "Case di Cura" to the Association for the prevention of blindness in children, which is headquartered there, the opportunities to find interesting things to do are endless.

I hope you will read and comment also in the future.

4:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anna, hai perfettamente ragione. Il panorama che si gode dalla montagna che sovrasta il convento dove ha vissuto Padre Pio è veramente stupendo. Io sono di San Giovanni Rotondo e nel mio sito web ho pubblicato una piccola galleria di fotografie scattate da quei luoghi in una splendida giornata di sole. Quando hai nostalgia di rivedere la città di tuo padre dall'alto, visita questa pagina: .
Ciao. Giulio

9:06 AM


Post a Comment

<< Home