Birthplace of Padre Pio – Pietrelcina, Italy - Atlas Obscura
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Pietrelcina, Italy

Birthplace of Padre Pio

A small town lost in the mountains of southern Italy hosts the childhood home of one of the most famous saints of the 20th century. 

The picturesque town of Pietrelcina is a small village in the Apennine Mountains of Campania. Already a beautiful sight, the town now attracts throngs of faithful Catholics worshipping Saint Pio, one of the most famous saints of the 20th century. Also known as Padre Pio (Father Pio), he gained global celebrity for claiming to exhibit stigmata and supernatural abilities such as communicating with angels, receiving visions, and performing miracles.

Many attractions in the town are dedicated to the mystic saint, who was born and raised in Pietrelcina before taking the Franciscan habit and becoming a friar. Padre Pio was born as Francesco Forgione in 1887 in a poor and deeply religious family of farmers, and soon decided that he would dedicate his whole life to God. The house where his family lived is now open to visitors, offering insight not only into the early life of the saint but also society in rural southern Italy at the turn of the 20th century.

The house museum is actually not a single unit but consists of several rooms along the same street, a small road in the oldest part of the town. One room is the place where Padre Pio was born, his parents’ bedroom. It also features a trapdoor on the floor that led to the warehouse where the family’s donkey was kept, who was used for transportation between the town and the countryside farms.

Another building on the street hosts two more rooms. One is the family kitchen, which still has the original furniture and fireplace. The other is the children bedroom that Padre Pio shared with his brothers and sisters, often sleeping on the ground with a stone as his pillow. According to the belief, this bedroom is the place where Padre Pio had his first visions and supernatural experiences.

Know Before You Go

Pietrelcina is located in the Apennines not far from the city of Benevento. There are a few different attractions relating to Padre Pio in town aside from his childhood house, including the church where he was baptized. Various guided tours are offered that follow the footsteps of the saint through the town, however the better-known pilgrimage site is located about 110 miles to the east of Pietrelcina, the Padre Pio Shrine in San Giovanni Rotondo.

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