The trip begins in Assisi, home of St Francis, and will lead you on a captivating tour of Umbria and parts of Lazio. This section of the tour includes a stop at Rieti, the site of the ‘Miracle of Wine’. So it only makes sense that you sit back and enjoy a wonderful Colli della Sabina D.O.C. wine.
This trip createstonne(s) of CO2, we offset it for free
Basilica di Francesco di Assisi
This UNESCO World Heritage site is the main church of the Roman Catholic order in Assisi. Built on a hill, the Basilica is made up of two churches ( upper and lower) and a crypt. The upper church is an impressive example of the Gothic style in Italy. The decoration and frescoes demonstrated the outstanding development of Italian Art.
Santa Maria Assunta
The home of the Homonymous diocese, the Cathedral is located in Rieti. It is a national monument in honour of its stunning mix of medieval and baroque styles. Be sure to visit the beautiful mosaics inside.
Cascata della Marmore
The tallest man-made waterfall in the world, this fall’s story starts with the Ancient Romans. They built dams and canals to control the water supply in the area. The construction of the waterfall itself was ordered by Pope Pius VI in order to avoid flood issues.
Assisi to Rieti
St Francis Way
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Arrive into Assisi, the birthplace and final resting place of St Francis. This town is full of stories and connections to St Francis and well worth exploring. Here you will experience a sense of peacefulness, not only at the Basilica of San Francesco but also throughout the town.
Day 2 19km
Take a scenic walk past orchards of olive groves and country houses as you weave your way to the hillside town of Spello. Explore this charming ancient town with its medieval gateways, Roman ruins and many churches. Sample the local cuisine and treat yourself to a hearty lunch of gnocchi!
A short walk later, you will arrive in Foligno, your stop for the night. Destroyed during World War II, the town has been lovingly restored to its old medieval charm.
This is where the first printed edition of Dante’s Divine Comedy was printed. Spend time exploring the town and its many museums, cathedrals and churches before sampling more local cuisine in one of the many restaurants.
Day 3 20km
CAMPELLO SUL CLITUNNO
More olive groves and forests await you today on your road to Trevi. Enjoy the quiet streets and get a bite to eat in one of the local cafés or restaurants while admiring the view of the valley below.
Take in the panoramic vista of the Olive laden valley below as you walk, with mountains looming in the distance and Trevi perched on its hilltop setting. It is easy to see why Trevi is known as the ‘capital’ of olive oil production.
You may wish to take a detour to the small paleochristian church and world heritage site that you will pass today. Admire the Fonti del Clitunno Park with its spring-fed canals and swans before entering Campello sul Clitunno. Taste the homemade local cuisine at one of the fantastic restaurants here.
Day 4 11.1km
CAMPELLO SUL CLITUNNO
With Mount Reviglioso behind you, walk through the valley along the Marroggia River into Spoleto. It's a short walk to the town, so you will have plenty of time and energy left to discover this exquisite spot.
St Francis is said to have declared “Nihil iucundius vidit mea valle spoletana” (Nothing is more gratifying to see than the Valley of Spoleto). Spoleto is the home of a Roman Amphitheatre that has been restored and is used to host concerts and ballet performances, the 4th Century World Heritage site of the Basilica of San Salvatore, and the 15th century fortress Rocca Albornoziana.
When following the St Francis Way you simply must visit the Duomo of Santa Maria Assunta. Here you can see its most prized treasure an original signed letter by St Francis to Brother Leo.
Day 5 20.1km
MACENANO - FERENTILLO
Leaving Spoleto you will come to a magnificent viewing point just below the fortress that provides an awe-inspiring vista worthy of a photo. Cross a 13th Century bridge from Spoleto to Monteluco over the Tessino river.
Climb through the woods to Monteluco where St Francis sought solitude to meditate in the caves. In this town, there is a Franciscan convent as well as a café for a break. Be sure to visit the Oratorio that has been built over where St Francis lived. Meander on through tranquil woods and meddows. Take the path down to the Nera River Valley which greets you with incredible views as you descend to Pontuglia. The sleepy village of Ceselli is surrounded by green hills and has a beautiful piazza with benches where you can take a break and inhale the fresh air of the forest.
Enjoy the forests as you head to Macenano, in the Parco Fluvial del Nera. Here you can sample a lovely evening meal freshly prepared in the local restaurant.
Day 6 11.3km
MACENANO - FERENTILLO
ARRONE - CASTELDILAGO
Have a sleep in today to take advantage of your shorter walk. With forested mountains to one side and meadows to the other, wander down to Precetto to admire the impressive remains of a castle perched high on the hilltop.
For something a bit different, visit the Museum of Mummies where you can view naturally mummified bodies some still with hair and teeth. You can also admire the 16th Century frescos that were discovered in the crypt.
Peer across the olive groves on the mountainside as you arrive into Arrone your stop for tonight. Follow the narrow steep streets up to explore what is left of this town's medieval castle. Be blown away by the view of rolling hills of olive groves, forests and cypress trees on one side, and of the town as it disappears into the overlapping hills on the other.
Day 7 13.4km
ARRONE - CASTELDILAGO
Today you will visit the Cascata delle Marmore. These falls were created by the Romans in 271BC to divert water from the Velino River and drain the swamps around Reiti. In the 15th/16th Century canals were also built to deal with flooding caused by the diversion.
In the late 19th Century the power of the falls was harnessed for hydroelectricity resulting in the falls being switched off at certain times of the day.
Follow a path along the canal of Fiume Velino to the picturesque town of Piediluco which means “at the foot of the mountain”.
St Francis passed through here in 1208 and the Church of San Francesco was built in his memory. This village has remained mostly untouched since the middle ages and exudes a tranquil charm that only mountains and water in close proximity can provide. Why not take a boat trip on the lake or if you are feeling energetic climb up to explore the ruins of Rocca di Piediluco.
Day 8 20.8km
Head along the lakeshore to the hilltop town of Labro. You are now entering the region of Lazio, home to the Eternal City of Rome.
Have an early morning coffee break in Labro and admire the views back down over the lake. Wander through forests and meadows and past churches, to the Faggio Dan Francesco beech tree which is said to have bent to protect St Francis during a storm. This is one of the oldest living beech trees in the world.
From here your walk is downhill to Poggio Bustone, your stop for the night. This well-preserved and picturesque town is perched above the Rieti Valley allowing for some spectacular views.
This town is closely associated with St Francis whom on entering the town would greet the people by saying “buon giorno, buona gente” (good morning good people). This greeting is commemorated on a stone slab in the heart of the town. St Francis also had two important spiritual experiences here. Firstly he was forgiven for his sins by the Archangel Gabriel, and secondly, he had a premonition of the future where he would have followers from all over the world.
If you have the energy you may also want to visit the Convento San Giacomo where St Francis stayed and you can visit the Grotto of Revelation.
Day 9 19.6km
Rolling hills await you on your journey to Santuario La Foresta. It is here that St Francis stayed when he was ill towards the end of his life.
With many people flocking to the area the local vineyards soon realised that their livelihoods were being destroyed by all the people consuming the grapes and so appealed to St Francis to do something. He requested that they bring the remaining grapes to the winepress at the church and to their amazement the winepress produced double the juice of the previous year’s crop, and thus became known as the ‘Miracle of the Wine’.
Rieti can trace its routes to the 9th Century BC. When it was ruled by the Romans. During World War II the town was partially destroyed but thankfully much of the medieval walls remain.
On the riverfront is the Chiesa di San Francesco from the 13th Century, here there are frescos depicting the life of St Francis.
After breakfast, we bid you farewell or welcome you to the next and final stage of the St Francis Way.
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