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San Francis Way: from La Verna to Assisi

The St Francis trail is not a pilgrimage route in the proper sense of the term. As a matter of fact until a few years ago there were never pilgrims retracing St Francis steps. This trail simply links the places that were important in St Francis life.
Francesco in an humble and simple way has been a revolutionary figure in the history of Christianity ; in a time when the Church of Rome was a centre of the temporal power of the Papacy and the centre of huge riches, plots and corruption, he preached poverty and fraternal love towards every creature of this world.
The exemple set by St Francis life and message is probably the reason that inspired the new Pope to chose to be called Francis I.
We start the walk in La Verna Monastery which is the place where St Francis is supposed to have received the « Stigmatas » and end in Assisi where he is burried touching several smaller monasteries and abbeys where the Saint stopped while travelling or where the leggend says he has accomplished miracles such as the taming of a ferocious woolf in Gubbio.


Activity Level: Moderate | Mileage: 215 km | Daily Walking: 2 – 5 hr

Duration: 14 Days – 13 Nights






Day 1 – La Verna Monastery

You can reach the Abbey by a direct bus from Arezzo. It stands in its severe beauty in a rugged scenary in the Casentino mountains. The mystic ambience that radiate from the place make a great start to this walk. Spend the night in the simple, but comfortable rooms of the monastery.



Day 2 – La Verna-Pieve Santo Stefano – Km 18 km

Entierly on trails, the walk is pleasant with up san down. The first part is among thick woods, but later the road climbs a ridge with open valleys on both sides. The scenary, beautifully severe mellows and becomes more pleasant. Pieve Santo Stefano is a charming little town ; in the cathedral and in the communal palace you can admire terracottas by Della Robbia. An outstanding collection of personal journals can be found in the Communal achives.



Day 3 – Pieve St Stefano – Passo di Viamaggio – Km 14

A day in a pristine landscape among woods and narrow valleys . The walk can be either on a dirt road or on a trail that, however berme very musddy in case of rain. A short detour allows to visit the Eremo of Cerbaiolo, many times destroyed and rebuilt keeping in mind the original simplicity.



Day 4 – Passo di Viamaggio – San Sepolcro – Km 24

A fairly long day that enfolds mainly in the woods , pine woods to start with, then beautiful oaks trees. When the woods open up you can enjoy beautiful view of the valley . San Sepolcro is an interesting little town that, according to a legend, owns its name and foundation to two monks returning from Gerusalem. Do not miss the paintings of Piero della Francesca in the civic museums.



Day 5 – Sansepolcro – Monterchi – Km 14

To adapt it to an average walker capabilities we decided to cut in two this stage and stop in a farmhouse near Monterchi. A short detour will take you to the centre of this charming little town where the famous fresco La Madonna del parto can be admired.



Day 6 – Monterchi – Città di Castello – Km 19

Today we quit the rolling hills and reach the Valtiberina flat lands. You will spend the night in a nice hotel in the old part of town. If you are interested in modern art don’t miss the Buri collection which is kept in an old tabacco drying barn turned into a museum. An exhibit of the paintings will be held in the Guggenheim Museum di New York in 2015.



Day 7 – Città di Castello – Pietralunga – Km 28 km

With possible transfer from Pieve a Saddi (Km 18km). Today stage is very long, but there are no accommodations along the way. If you think 28km are too much for you, the owner of the hotel in Pietralunga will kindly come and pick you up about midway.



Day 8 – Pietralunga – Mocaiana – Km 16 km

Today the trail meanders among soft hills, skirts a nice lake and start descending toward the plain. In order to take an intermediate stop you will have to make a short detour to reach a farmhouse and go back to where you left the trail the next morning



Day 8 – Pietralunga – Mocaiana – Km 16 km

Today the trail meanders among soft hills, skirts a nice lake and start descending toward the plain. In order to take an intermediate stop you will have to make a short detour to reach a farmhouse and go back to where you left the trail the next morning



Day 9 – Mocaiana – Gubbio – 12km

Gubbio is one of the most beautiful towns of Umbria. It has kept intact its medieval atmosphere with narrow cobbled streets, articraft workshops and a superb communal palace. Avoid to be there the 15th of May unless you really ejoy crowd and want to take part in one of the craziest medieval festival in Italy ; The Ceri Festival.



Day 10 – Gubbio – Castello di Biscina – Km 22

A tiring day full of ups and downs ending near an ancient castle that overlooks the Chiascio valley . The castle is an imposing ruin that can be freely visited.



Day 11 – Biscina – Valfabbrica – Km – 12km

A fairly short day that unfolds, mostly downhill, along the Chiascio valley. Unfortunately this valley has been spoiled by the construction of a large dam which has then proved unusable becouse badly built. The view of the meandering river from the surrounding hill is still striking . Valfabbrica is a lively little town where you can stop for a cappuccino before reaching your hotel outside town along the trail.



Day 12 – Valfabbrica – Assisi – Km 15

The beginning is a bit tough then it becomes easier. Rolling hills and thick woods and an amazing arrival with a breath taking view of Assisi. While in the first part the landscape is still rugged and sparsely inhabited, the southern slopes are covered by the first olive groves. Spend the night in a charming locanda in the centre of town few meters from the Basilica.



Day 13 – Assisi/Assisi – 3 hours

A relaxing day. If you want to walk you can have a 3 hours loop Have a brisk departure by climbing to the Eremo delle Carceri, S. Francis peaceful retreat. At the top of the trail 500 meters from the Eremo there is a nice picnic spot with tables and benches. Otherwise just visit Assisi, which has a lot more to offer than the St Francis Basilica, although the Giotto’s frescos are superb.


A rest day can be taken either in San Sepolcro, Città di Castello or GubbioI







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