Pietrelcina is a place of unsurpassed scenic beauty with a charming village of medieval origin. A town in the Apennines of Campania that is home to the birthplace of Padre Pio, one of the most famous and beloved saints of the 20th century. It lies just over 300 meters above sea level, on the right bank of the Tammaro River and is about 12 km from the capital.
Not to be missed
Originally Pietrelcina was a baronial castle surrounded by mighty walls and with two entrance gates, Porta Giardino and Porta Madonnella. There are several places to visit related to Padre Pio’s life, in addition to his childhood home, such as the church where he was baptized. Interesting guided tours are organized that follow the saint’s footsteps through the town, although the best-known pilgrimage site is about 170 kilometers from Pietrelcina, namely the Shrine of Padre Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo.
The original core of the town is situated on a limestone outcrop. This ancient center, known as the “Castle,” retains its old-world charm. Its narrow streets winding up and down, small stone houses embellished with external stairs, Padre Pio houses and shrines are something indescribably beautiful. Going through the small alleys, one can relive the atmosphere of the many decades past, where one can breathe the air of tranquility immersed in a village of extraordinary beauty. It is a place that takes you back in time and is an authentic testimony to the life of a century ago.
Pietrelcina has very ancient origins. In the 12th century, according to the chronicler Falcone, its inhabitants were actively engaged in historical events between the Normans, the Papacy and the last Lombard princes. In the same century, a feudal lord of the town donated a convent to the Virginian Fathers in Montevergine, demonstrating an already remarkable religiosity of the small Samnite center.
In the following centuries, Pietrelcina had several feudal lords; it is worth mentioning the famous jurist Bartolomeo Camerario, who meditated and wrote some of his works here. Then came the Caracciolo, D’Aquino and Carafa families. It has always been part of the Diocese of Benevento and the province of Principato Ultra of the Kingdom of Naples; since 1861 it has belonged to the province of Benevento.
Religious culture is closely linked to the patron Saint Madonna della Libera, venerated on December 3 each year. Very heartfelt is the devotion to St. Pio, better known as Padre Pio, who was born and lived his early years here. There is still today the birthplace of the saint, which is used as a museum and where there is a large pilgrimage of the faithful every year.