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THE 'WAY OF ST FRANCIS' - 'WAY OF ROME': FROM ASSISI TO SPOLETO

a 6 days pilgrimage walking holiday

Since medieval times there have been three famous Christian pilgrimage destinations: Jerusalem in the Holy Land, Santiago de Compostella in Spain, and Rome. The ‘Way of St. Francis'(Roman Way) is a section of a pilgrims' route to Rome, a European cultural path which starts in Vienna and ends in Rome, passing many places connected with the life of St. Francis. The route, which also carries the symbol of the keys of St. Peter, finishes in front of St. Peter’s tomb in Rome. Every year many pilgrims and trekkers from all over the world follow this path, passing hermitages, sanctuaries, ancient forests, olive groves and valleys rich in art and history. This walking route begins in Tuscany, at the La Verna monastery, where St. Francis received the signs of the stigmata (wounds of Christ). The route then crosses Umbria from north to south and finishes in Rome, in the region of Lazio. In Umbria, the native area of St. Francis, his presence is particularly strong and everything reminds us of the much-loved saint. A highlight of this tour is of course the lovely town of Assisi, where a section of the Via di Roma begins at the St. Francis tomb in the Basilica di San Francesco, one of the most celebrated sacred spots of Christianity. Assisi enjoys a splendid position on a hillside at the foot of Monte Subasio, overlooking the Valle Umbra and lying between the rivers Chiascio, Topino and Tescio. St. Francis (1181/82 – 1226) was born in Assisi and lived here for most of his life. It is certainly worth inserting an extra day in your itinerary to visit this fascinating town. Leaving Assisi you will walk through the wonderful countryside of Umbria, which St. Francis so loved, and you will pass through medieval towns and villages such as Spello, Foligno, Trevi, Spoleto and Arrone. You enter the region of Lazio and along the approach Rome the landscape becomes ever flatter, but not less exciting. On the last two days you will walk through Rome passing many monuments, which are worth visiting, but the highlight will certainly be the Basilica of St. Peter, the final destination of this walking tour  

 

 

 

Programme in short:

Day 1 arrival at Assisi

Day 2 Assisi-Spello 

Day 3 Spello-Trevi

Day 4 Trevi- Campello Alto

Day 5 Campello Alto -Spoleto 

Day 6 departure or continue with the Via di San Francesco

 

 

 

Programme:

Day 1

Individual arrival at Assisi

Your hotel is in Assisi, near the old town centre. If you arrive in good time you can go for a cultural tour of Assisi. The route passes the Basilica di San Francesco, the house where he was born, the Basilica di Santa Chiara and the monastery of San Damiano, where Francis wrote the famous 'Cantico delle Creature'. At the tourist information office you can get a Pilgrim's Passport, which you can ask to be ink stamped at the Franciscan monuments: a nice reminder of your journey.  

 

Day 2

Assisi-Spello

Leave Assisi by the Porta Cappuccini arch and you will enter immediately into the woods of the Natural Park of Monte Subasio. A steep climb will take you to the hermitage 'Eremo delle Carceri' (830m), one of the places which best captures the 'sense' of the prayers of St. Francis, who used to retreat here with his most faithful companions to pray and meditate in the silence of the woods. From the hermitage you will descend towards Spello, passing the abbey of San Benedetto with its beautiful 11th century crypt. The descent continues and the woods become less and less dense and then give way to olive groves. The village of Spello clings to the hillside and was once a Roman castrum. Several Roman features remain, including three town gates, the remains of an amphitheatre and some beautiful mosaics. The streets and alleyways are steep, winding and often adorned with flowers. Your accommodation is in a three star hotel in the old town centre.

Distance:15,8 km; Walking time: 5 hours; Difficulty: medium/difficult; Ascent / Descent: + 690m  -685m

 

Day 3

Spello– Trevi

After breakfast put on your backpack, walk down through the centre of Spello and leave the town by the arches at Porta Consolare. A walk along the valley will take you to Foligno, which is one of the few towns built in the valley rather than on the hills. Cross the bridge over the river Topino and enter into the old town centre. Here you will find an impressive cathedral with two Romanesque façades (12th century); the 14th century Palazzo Trinci, which hosts both an archeological museum and an art gallery; and the Oratorio della Nunziatella (1494) with a fresco by Perugino. The Chiesa di San Francesco holds the remains of Beata Angela, a Franciscan mystic to whom St. Francis appeared in 1285. Leaving Foligno you will also leave behind the sounds of the town, because at Sant Eraclio the route enters the olive groves once more. You will remain among olive trees from here to Trevi. Passing small hamlets and villages with narrow streets, a last climb will take you into Trevi, which dominates the valley from its hilltop position. Your overnight stay is in a residence in the old town centre.

Distance: 19,9 km; Walking time: 6  hours; Difficulty: medium; Ascent / Descent: + 260m  -295m

 

Day 4

Trevi - Campello Alto

Today's route isn't very long, but involves plenty of uphill and downhill stretches on hills covered with olive groves and woods. You climb to an old Franciscan hermitage which now houses an enclosed order, then you descend through the olive groves before walking up to Campello Alto, at 514m above sea level. This is a fortified hill village built in 921 by Rovero di Champeause, baron of Burgundy.  A last uphill stretch will bring you to your hotel.

Distance: 12 km; Walking time: 4 1/4  hours; Difficulty: medium; Ascent / Descent: + 550m  -296m

 

Day 5

Campello Alto - Spoleto

The route of today is long, but can be shortened with a transfer after breakfast to Poreta. Walking through olive groves you will come to Osteria where there was once a hotel for pilgrims. A steep climb brings you to Bazzano superiore, then passing the remains of a castle you will come down to Bazzano inferiore. After a tiring climb in the woods you will emerge into the olive groves above Eggi, which is built on the top of a small hill and has a 14th century castle. A quiet country lane brings you to Spoleto, once a Lombard duchy. Spoleto is a proud medieval town, with a beautiful cathedral (il Duomo) and an impressive castle which dominates the town from above. Your *** hotel is situated in the centre of Spoleto.

Distance: 20 or 15,1 km; Walking Time: 7 or 5 hours: Difficulty: medium or hard; Ascent / Descent: +650m  -727m

 

Day 6

Departure or continue of the Via di San Francesco  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The tour package includes:

  • 5 nights with breakfast in ** and *** star hotels and holiday farm

  • 1 dinner

  • meeting with agent evening of arrival in your first hotel

  • route descriptions and maps in English (gps tracks gratis on request)

  • luggage transportation

  • Back-up service

  • tour information in English

 

 

 

Period

daily from 1st April to the beginning of November. (In other months only on request).  

Level 3

The daily itineraries pass through moderately mountainous country and hill terrain. On some days the amount of ascent and descent is quite considerable. Daily walking distances are between 15 and 28 km (with an average of 3 – 4 hours walking a day). This route requires a certain amount of experience and familiarity with mountain terrain. A good level of fitness for walking is necessary.

Price 2015

per person in a double room    € 390,00

In a single room     € 485,00

travelling alone € 545,00

half board supplement (4 diners)  € 74,00

supplement Spoleto festival (end of June-beginning of July) €  15,00

On request

extra nights, discount without luggage transportation, tracks voor gps (free)