Since medieval times, there have been three famous Christian pilgrimage destinations: Jerusalem in the Holy Land, Santiago de Compostela in Spain, and Rome. The Way of St. Francis links cultural treasures and cherished sites from the life of Francis of Assisi. This tour is ideal for the experienced Santiago walker, who seeks a less crowded adventure. The tour concludes with a climactic arrival at St. Peter’s basilica in Rome. Inspired by Francis of Assisi, beloved among saints, the walk allows pilgrims to experience the places he lived, prayed and worked. In Umbria, the native area of St. Francis, his presence is particularly strong and everything reminds us of the much-loved saint.
The route starts in Florence crosses a part of Tuscany, Umbria from north to the south and finishes in the region Lazio, at St. Peter’s tomb in Rome. It is a walk through stunning nature and you will really enjoy the picturesque hill towns in Tuscany and Umbria. Every year many pilgrims and trekkers from all over the world follow this route through the silence of nature, passing unknown hermitages, sanctuaries, ancient forests, olive groves and valleys rich in art and history.
You can extend individually the tour before the starting date or in the end, to have extra time to visit the interesting town such as Florence, Assisi, Rieti and Rome.
Individual arrival at your hotel in Florence. Meeting with your tour guide and briefing about the tour with the other participants.
We leave the beautiful town of Florence following the old road “Strada dei Sette Ponti” (road of the seven bridges), which crosses the hills of the Arno. After Settignano with its historical villages. We walk between olive groves e vineyards and follow the river. Our day ends in the fortified town of Pontassieve.
Distance: 22 Km/13,6 miles,
Ascent/descent: + 600m -550m
Climbing, we cross the vineyards of the Chianti Rufina and then we enter the woods of the Abbey of Vallombrosa. We continue uphill till we arrive at the pass Passo della Consuma.
Distance: 19 Km/12 miles
Ascent/descent: +1020 -140 m
Today a nice walk crossing the mountains of casentinesi, woods of conifers, oaks, and chestnuts. We descend in the high Arno Valley (Alta Valle dell’Arno) and will have an overnight stay in the cozy town of Stia.
Distance: 16 Km/10 miles
Ascent/descent: +600 -1150 m
Again we climb up to arrive at the woods of the national park Casentinese that surrounds the hermitage Sacro Eremo di Camaldoli; after a visit, we continue through a fir and beech wood. We reach the highest point of our journey (1354m) before we descend to the mountain village Badia Prataglia.
Distance: 21 Km/13 miles
Ascent/descent: +1200 -600m
Also today the mountains will accompany us. After the climbing start, we have a long descend till we reach Rimbocchi in the Holy Valley “Valle Santa” casentinese- Again we climb towards Monte Penne e we reach the “crudo sasso” on which is built the Monastery of la Verna. Here we end our walk of today and it is also the end of the first stretch.
Distance: 17 Km/10,6 miles
Ascent/descent: +1200 -960m
We start a nice downhill walk into the High Tiber Valley (alta Valtiberina) and we will have a short break at Pieve Santo Stefano. We continue with a hard climb towards the hermitage l’Eremo di Cerbaiolo and the mountain pass Passo Viamaggio.
Distance: 26 km/16 miles
Ascent/descent: +800 –950m
We cross a mountaintop and enter the reserve ‘Riserva Naturale dell’Alpe della Luna’. After we have cross a high plain, we walk towards the hermitage ‘Eremo di Montecasale’, where still lives a small Franciscan community. Then we descend to one of the nicest medieval Italian towns, Sansepolcro.
Distance: 24 km/15 miles
Ascent/Descent: +700 -1300m
This is our last day. Today after breakfast we say goodbye to the whole group. Individual departures and end of our services.
Arrival in your hotel in Sansepolcro and meeting with your tour guide and the other participants of the group tour. You will be given information material and credential.
The stage of today starts, with a flat walk crossing the Valtiberina. Then we climb uphill on
which is built the small picturesque village of Citerna. We descend into a valley and after a last uphill walk, we arrive at a hilltop from which we have a nice view over the valley.
Distance: 16 km/10 miles
Ascent/Descent: +507 –422m
Today we walk in a typical Umbria landscape, which means a lot of up- and downhill walking on the hills on the west side of the Valtiberina. We pass the hermitage ‘Eremo del Buonriposo’ and we descend again in the Tiber Valley to reach Città di Castello, the first important town we pass in Umbria.
Distance: 15 km/9,3 miles
Ascent/Descent: +505 –716m
12th May: Città di Castello-Pietralunga.
A long stage, but not too hard. At first, we walk through a flat landscape and then we start to climb into lower pre-Apennine mountains to arrive at Passo Candeggio. Then we descend slowly passing the old Pieve di Saddi. The last climb and we reach the old medieval town of Pietralunga with its remains of a Lombard Castle.
Distance: 30 km/18,6 miles
Ascent/Descent: +944m –700m
We continue our walk through the woods of the pre-Apennines. We cross Monte Spesce, and start to descend into the high plain of Gubbio. We will reach this lovely medieval town, “città di pietra”, at the foot of Monte Ingino and the sanctuary S.Ubaldo. It is worthwhile to take some time to visit the old town centre!
Distance: 26 km/16,2 miles
Ascent/Descent: +713m –768m
The last two stages from our walk to Assisi are along the peace path “Sentiero Francescano della Pace”. It is a route passing many places connected with the life of Saint Francis. First, we pass the church Chiesa della Vittorina, where the famous episode of the wolf took place. Then we cross the plain and climb into the low mountains of Valdichiascio. We have spectacular views of the Castle of Biscina, today’s destination, Mount Subasio, tomorrow’s destination, and the surrounding mountains. Along our way, we will find the small church of Madonna delle Ripe, the hermitage of San Pietro in Vigneto and the old monastery of
Caprignone. The last climb will bring us to the remains of the castle of Biscina and the holiday farm for our overnight stay.
Distance: 22 km/13,7 miles
Ascent/Descent: +708 –627m
Today again a long stage, but with great satisfaction. We start with a downhill walk till the bottom of the valley. After the dam, we reach the historic farm Barcaccia and after it the small town of Valfabbrica. Passed another hill we have the first view of the Castle of Assisi and shortly after of the Basilica di San Francesco. We cross the river Tescio, climb through the woods of Saint
Francis, “Bosco di San Francesco” and come to the Basilica di San Francesco, a highlight of this tour and the place where we get the well-deserved “Testimonium”.
Distance: 27 km/16,8 miles
Ascent/Descent: +450m -360m
This is our last day. Today after breakfast we say goodbye to the whole group. Individual departures and end of our services. If you want to have some time to visit Assisi individually, then you can book an extra night.
Individual arrival in your hotel at Assisi and meeting with your tour guide and the other participants of the group tour. You will be given information material and credential. If you arrive early you could take your time to explore Assisi.
Begin the 1st leg by setting off directly from the hotel. Get across Mount Subasio, visiting
the sanctuary of “Eremo delle Carceri” on the way, then Spello, a beautiful medieval town;
continue on flat land to reach our hotel in the thriving city of Foligno.
Distance: 21 km/13 miles
Ascent/Descent: +885m -1154m
The first part of today is flat down to the borgo of Sant’Eraclio, and then it goes up into the hills and starts a nice walk amongst olive groves. We arrive to Trevi, which has a nice old town centre. The town of Trevi, hanging over the valley, is worthwhile to visit. We continue our walk until the picturesque Campello Alto.
Distance: 22 km/13,8 miles
Ascent/Descent: +1031m -488m
Also, today is dedicated to olive groves and nice views over the valley. It continues up and down through the hills, passing little gems like Poreta and its castle, Bazzano and Eggi. The goal of our walk today is one of the most important historical cities, Spoleto, rich in art treasures and with a cozy centre.
Distance: 20 km/12,5 miles
Ascent/Descent: +650 -727m
This 4th leg starts from the impressive castle (Rocca di Albornoz) of Spoleto and we climb up walking in the “sacred” woods of Monteluco. We arrive at the Franciscan sanctuary “Eremo delle Grazie”, where also st. Francis stayed for a while. We cross the mountain and descend into the narrow valley of River Nera (Valnerina), passing the little villages of Pontuglia and Ceselli. The becomes route now flat and easy. We have a nice view of the Abbey of S.Pietro in Valle. We cross the river and follow it down to another smally village, Precetto, where we will stop for the night.
Distance: 21 km/13 miles
Ascent/Descent: +968m – 830m
After breakfast, we continue along the riverbank of the Nera all the way down to Arrone and Castel di Lago. Then we climb up the steep slopes, which are next to the monumental Marmore Waterfalls, which are artificial and created by the Romans. We come to the village of Marmore and continue towards Lake Piediluco and our hotel.
Distance: 22 km/14 miles
Ascent/Descent: +180m – 60m
Today a walk with some hard climbs. It takes us up to the perfectly preserved feudal town of Labro, on a hilltop overlooking the Piediluco lake. Further, we arrive at Morro Reatino and then up to reach the highest point of the route (1100m/3600 ft) and see the amazing and suggestive “St Francis beech tree”, decorated with crosses from pilgrims who passed here. It goes downhill to the rural village of Cepparo and on along the mountains loop to the Franciscan sanctuary and the town of Poggio Bustone where we have a deserved rest in our hotel.
Distance: 21 km/13 miles
Ascent/Descent: +925m – 480m
This last leg starts with descending halfway down into the valley, then we walk along a nice route following the mountain sloop until we come first to the little village of San Liberato and then to Cantalice, built against the rocks. Then
gradually we walk down to the sanctuary of La Foresta, and it goes onward to another very important historical city, Rieti.
Distance: 17 km/10,6 miles
Ascent/Descent: +252m – 683m
After breakfast ends this tour past Franciscan monuments, authentic small villages and many churches and monasteries. We say goodbye to our companions and leave individually
Individual arrival in your hotel at Rietiand meeting with your tour guide and the other participants of the group tour. You will be given information material and a credential. If you arrive early you could take your time to explore Rieti.
Today we leave the old town centre of Rieti by crossing the river Velino and start our walk through a narrow side-valley. The walk along the bank of a tiny brook is almost flat. We will cross an ancient Roman bridge and then start climbing into the hills of the Sabina, covered with woods and olive groves. We pass Ornaro and Torricella to reach our hotel near Poggio San Lorenzo.
Distance: 22 km/13,8 miles
Ascent/Descent: +274m –230m
This 2nd walking day continues across the hills topped by medieval villages, through woods, vineyards and olive groves. Interesting is Monteleone Sabino with the archaeological Roman site of Trebula Mutuesca and the church of Santa Vittoria. Further on we pass the town of Poggio Moiano and the village of Ponticelli. For the last stretch of today we have to leave the Way of Saint Francis to reach our guesthouse on a hilltop, near the Franciscan sanctuary of “Santa Maria delle Grazie”.
Distance: 24 km/15 miles
Ascent/Descent: +670m – 770m
We return to Ponticelli to pick up the Way of Saint Francis again. We cross hills covered with olive groves. Impressive is the hill topped by the majestic Orsini Castle, dominating the vast lowland that unrolls in the distance. The walking up and down becomes less evident, because the hills now are lower. We pass the village of Acquaviva di Nerola and the town of Montelibretti. Accompanied by peach trees, vineyards and cornfields we reach the historic town of Monterotondo, where is waiting our hotel for a good sleep tonight.
Distance: 30 km/18,7 miles
Ascent/Descent: +414m – 262m
After a good breakfast, we say goodbye to Monterotondo. we descend into the Valle Ricca and the Parco della Marcigliana. On the other side of the park, you are already at the border of Rome: the last 6 Km/3.8 mi are all along city streets and can be avoided by taking the bus. Our hotel is in the stylish borough of Montesacro.
Distance: 18 km/11,2 miles
Ascent/Descent: +289m – 386m
This last day starts by getting across the Aniene River over either a modern bridge or a medieval one. Then we take the footpath, away from city traffic, through the elegant suburbs Salario, Parioli and Flaminio to reach finally the banks of the Tiber River at Ponte Milvio. The footpath follows along the riverside to famous Castel Santangelo and Ponte Santangelo with the sculptures of Bernini. Walking along the Via della Conciliazione we reach the last highlight of this pilgrimage walk, the basilica of St Peter. Go to the Pilgrimage Office and claim our certificates, because you did it !
Distance: 15 km/9,4 miles
Ascent/Descent: +130m – 135m
This tour full of satisfaction ends after breakfast. You say goodbye to your walking mates! Of course, individually you can take extra nights to explore Rome,