Padre Pio Pilgrimage Church, San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy
Homage is paid to Saint Padre Pio in the form of a magnificent basilica in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy. The Genoan architect, Renzo Piano, designed a spectacular facility that accommodates 6,500 worshippers under its great sloping roof and allows 30,000 to gather in its piazza.
A powerful landmark cross, crafted from beige Apricena stone, anchors a large stone wall supporting twelve huge bells that lead the faithful to the courtyard and the discreetly situated church.
The shallow central dome is supported by 22 stone arches arranged in a radial pattern. Chief among them, all fashioned from the same beige stone, is the longest supporting arch (170 feet) ever built of stone.
The dramatic stained glass window wall facing the plaza illustrates scenes of the Apocalypse.
The remarkable structure sits comfortably among the hillsides and olive groves of Puglia.