St Francis is the patron saint of Italy as well as the patron saint of animals, merchants & ecology. The St Francis Way walk will take you through “il cuor verde d’Italia”, the green heart of Italy, via Assisi the home of St Francis, ending in the Eternal City, Rome.
Pilgrimages to Rome have been happening for centuries. However, unlike the Via Francigena, there is no historical text of an itinerary to follow for the St Francis Way. There are a number of routes to walk that are linked with the life of St Francis. For this trip, we have selected sites that have a strong link to the life of St Francis whilst enabling you to enjoy the beauty of the Appennine range which was so beloved by St Francis.
The region you will walk through has a rich and colourful history and you will witness how man and nature have come to live in harmony which is very much in the spirit of St Francis. Some examples of man and nature working in harmony would be Sansepolcro, the first city to have electricity in Italy from hydroelectricity or the Cascata delle Marmore, a waterfall created by the Romans to drain the swamps around Rieti.
Starting in Florence which is the birthplace of the Renaissance you will move through the rolling hills getting an up-close experience with nature before arriving into Santuario della Verna a retreat that was cherished by St Francis for its solitude.
The next stage will see you move deeper into the Appennine mountain range which is known as the thick spine of the Italian Peninsula and sees you moving through tranquil forests and among green fields in quiet valleys, before arriving into the birthplace of St Francis, Assisi.
From Assisi, you will walk to Rieti hugging the mountainside as you walk through olive groves and stay in hilltop towns that provide spectacular views of this region. Leaving Rieti you will descend out of the Appennine mountain range and continue through plentiful olive groves before coming into the Eternal City of Rome and your final destination the Vatican City.