Independent travel: Naples to San Giovanni Rotondo
"Independent travel: Naples to San Giovanni Rotondo"
I had always wanted to meet Padre Pio but he died before I was out of my teens and for years afterwards I regreted never having met him. Then early this year my wife and I decided to travel to Italy and going to San Giovanni Rotondo became a possibility.
We were travelling independently by train and bus so we were on our own in that respect but it was surprisingly easy to get there and back.
I think that maybe we wern't as alone as we had first thought and someone was guiding us.
I did do as much research on the internet as I could before I left which did help al lot.
The following description of how we got there might help others who decide to take the journey without the support of a group.
"Getting to S. Giovanni Rotondo from Naples"
Exit Naples railway station and face the main Piazza. A modern awning forms an angular horned shape at the front of the station.
Move to the left hand point of the awning, you should now be opposite the Stars Hotel Termini. The bus to foggia leaves from here every hour and you buy your ticket on the bus(cost 9 euros). At the time of writing this, a lot of work was going on in and around the Piazza so ask if you have the right bus before boarding.
Alternatively, there is a bus ticket sellers outlet in the Ettiore Bar beside the Stars Hotel Termini. If the present terminus for the Foggia bus has been moved then this is as good a place as any to make inquiries about its whereabouts.
The bus to Foggia terminates in front of the Foggia railway station and directly across the piazza from the station, on a corner is the Kiwi Bar where you can buy a ticket for the bus from Foggia to San Giovanni Rotondo (cost 2.60 euros). As you exit the Kiwi Bar, cross the road immediatedly outside the bar but stay on the square(you should be opposite the railway station) and you will see two “SITA” bus stops outside the Pot Gelateria icecream shop. The bus stop furthest from the Kiwi Bar is the stop for San Giovanni.
There is a good bus service to and from San Giovanni Rotondo.
The journey takes about 1hr 10mins and terminates at the Sanctuary itself, you may not be able to see the Sanctuary immediatedly because it may be obscured by the bus shelter but you are less than 50m from all the main sites. Return tickets can be bought at the “SITA” agents kiosk on the side of the little terminus which is furthest from the bus shelter.
It’s worth noting that the colour of the buses in not always the same, the one I took to San Giovanni was blue but the return bus was green so the motto is “always ask”.