This final section of the St Francis Way takes you from the Appennine mountain range down into the Tiber Valley plain, leaving behind the remote Italian countryside as you arrive into the busy outer-suburbs of Rome and the final destination, the historic Basilica of St Peter in the Vatican City.
FREE This trip createstonne(s) of CO2, we offset it for free
The Legend says that Rieti was founded by Rea, Mother of the Olympian Gods. Located on the slopes of Sabini and Reatini mountains, the city has multiple roman and medieval sites thanks to its long and fascinating history.
The Rieti speciality is the Fregnacce Alla Reatina, a hearty pasta dish with a tomato-based sauce (mushroom, garlic, olives, hot pepper…). The dish is often served as a first course. For your second course, try the Pasta Alla Gricia. Treat yourself afterwards with an amaretti Casperiani – a famous almond cookie. And of course, don’t forget a glass of lovely Umbrian wine.
The eternal city of Rome
The Italian capital, the most historical city in Italy. Rome is the centre of Latin culture and is bursting with ancient influences. While you are here, be sure to take a look at the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, or for a more quirky experience – find the room where they display all the pope’s old carriages and cars.
Rieti to Rome
St Francis Way
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We start the last stage of the St Francis way from Rieti. This town in the Lazio region is steeped in history from the Roman period right up to today. Located on the slopes of the Reatini and Sabini Mountains, Reiti is surrounded by spectacular mountainous scenery. It is easy to see why St Francis spent so much time in the surrounding tranquil countryside. Pay a visit to the town hall, which dates back to the XIII Century, and the romantic Cathedral, which preserves some precious artworks.
Day 2 20.4km
POGGIO SAN LORENZO
Follow the base of the mountain before turning off this path across the valley. Enjoy tree-lined paths flanked by a wooded hillside. Ramble on to Ponte Sambuco, a 4th Century Roman Bridge, where there are picnic benches and you can stop to enjoy some lunch. Continue through the tranquil countryside, ascending gently before descending into Poggio San Lorenzo, your stop for the night. This ancient Roman town is surrounded by forested hilltops and makes a peaceful place to stay and enjoy some good home-cooked food. This town is also known for it animal rescue reserve “Piano dell’ Abatino”, unfortunately, it is not open to the public.
Day 3 20.7km
POGGIO SAN LORENZO
Breath in the clean air of the olive groves as you stroll towards the ruins of a Roman Amphitheatre. Next, visit the romantic Santa Vittoria Church, within which there is a small well whose water is said to have healing properties. Take a break from your walk in Poggio Moiano for some lunch. After walking through the little town you will come across Scandriglia, another lovely town where you will be able to admire the XV century Anguillara Palace. Sweep around the hillsides and down to your stopover for the night, the small quiet village of Ponticelli. Visit the Santa Maria delle Grazie sanctuary, which is said to have hosted some significant saints from Italy.
Day 4 11.3km
Descending from the Appennine mountain range into the Tiber Valley plain you will come to the town of Poggio Corese and then Pitirolo. Here, you can take a 2km detour to the beautiful Orsini Castle in Nerola. More olive groves will line your walk to the town of Acquaviva which is full of excellent places for lunch. Montelibretti, your stop for the night, is perched on the ridge of a hill. It is home to many churches and the Barberini Palace. Make sure to try some of the delicious and locally produced olive oil.
Day 5 17.3km
The olive groves are broken up by hayfields as you walk up to the town of Monterotondo. As its name implies, it sits atop a round hill, Monte Ginestra. Steeped in history this town is connected with some of the famous families from the history of Italy such as the Medici and the Orsini families. The city hall was formerly a fortress and then an elegant Renaissance palazzo. It once again played its part as a fortress during World War II. Take a look at the Santa Maria Maddalena Cathedral and the Santa Madonna delle Grazie church. Spend time exploring this quiet town and try one of the local dishes containing the fava beans and sheep’s milk cheese.
Day 6 16.9km
Today is your last day going through farmland on the approach to Rome. Pass vegetable gardens and rolling green hills, olive groves and an olive oil factory. Just past the olive oil factory, there is a viewing point from which you can see the dome of St Peter’s Basilica on a clear day. Roam through the Riserva Naturale delle Marcigliana through grassy fields before entering the suburbs of Rome and your final stop before Rome, Monte Sacro. During the Plebian Revolt of 494BC the Plebian lower classed took up residence here in rebellion against the Patricians. By the Middle Ages the area was largely unpopulated, but as Rome grew and urbanisation took hold it became once again apart of the metropolitan area of Rome.
Day 7 16.1km
You are entering the Eternal City. The sense of busy-ness increases the closer you get as you walk along the Aniene River on tree-lined streets. Passing through the wooded expanse of Villa Ada Savoia, one of the largest parks in Rome, you will leave the park by the Mosque of Rome, the largest mosque out of the Islamic world. In Villa Glori Park you might want to stop in one of the many restaurants to have a short break. Continue along the Tiber River to the epitome of your journey, St Peter’s Square and St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City. You've made it. Take in this incredible place with its striking architecture and bustling tourists.
Today, we bid you arrivederci! Take this opportunity to explore the ancient city and its many churches. As you will have walked the Way of St Francis be sure to visit the Basilica of St John Lateran where, in the 4th Chapel, there is a painting of St Francis receiving the stigmata and also in the park outside there is a large statue of St Francis that if you stand behind at a certain distance it looks as if St Francis is holding up the church. You can extend your stay here for a few days to give you time to see some of the magnificent art and architecture of the city. Contact us so we can book your accommodation for a few nights longer.