Walking the St Francis Way from Florence to Sansepolcro
Beginning in Florence, the first section of St. Francis Way will take you through rolling hills and valleys. Don’t miss the opportunity to capture the serenity of the lush country-side, enjoy a variety of Italian cuisine or the chance to visit the most revered location of Santuario della Verna.
This trip creates 0.23 tonne(s) of CO2, we offset it for free
Florence, the cradle of the renaissance, is one of Europe’s most cultural and artistic cities. El Ponte Vecchio is the symbol of the city – a bridge covered in cute little shops. It’s an easy walk from the bridge to the fascinating Duomo, with its magnificent marble tile work and domed red roof. If you are looking for incredible views, head up to the Piazzale Michelangelo.
Casentino National Park
Amazing Umbrian landscapes mixed with European forest await in this charming park. Find an ancient village hiding in the trees and keep an eye out for local wildlife. Make your way to the Camaldoli Hermitage, the birthplace of the Camaldoli order.
Santuario della Verna
This monastery built on the Monte Pena, a high hill, offers you the most incredible view over the surrounding area. The place is well-known because St Francis of Assisi is said to have received his stigmata (holy wounds) there.
Florence to Sansepolcro
St Francis Way
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Florence (Firenze) is the largest city and capital of Tuscany. It is the birthplace of Dante.
Renowned world over as the cradle of the Renaissance this city makes a wonderfully cultured start to your St Francis pilgrimage to Rome.
Be sure to make time to visit the domed cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. Marvel at this engineering feat built by Filippo Brunelleschi, and visit one of the many museums, palaces and churches that house the most significant artistic treasures in the world.
Day 2 23.1km
Today you will leave the cultured haven of Florence. During your walk, find yourself returning to a simpler way of life, surrounded by the beauty of nature.
Start from the primary Franciscan church in Florence, the Basilica of Santa Croce, which is also the resting place of Michelangelo, Rossini, Machiavelli and Galileo. Leave Florence and enter olive groves and vineyards in an area known for its Chianti wines.
Arriving into Settignano, take the opportunity to have a quick break for a morning coffee or espresso. Continue uphill with views of the valley below you, then descend into the valley. Follow the Arno River to Sieci where you can enjoy a picnic on the banks of the river.
Climb Sieci to enjoy sweeping vistas of the surrounding hills and vineyards. Descend through the vineyards and olive groves to finish your days walking in Pontassieve.
During World War II this town suffered substantial damage and none of its medieval features remain. However, many later sights remain and it is well worth visiting the Pieve di San Giovanni a Rémole where there are the remains of two frescos by Botticelli.
Day 3 17.5km
CONSUMA - MONTEMIGNAIO
Ascending out of Pontassieve you will be greeted with a spectacular view of the Sieve Valley and Castello di Nipozzano, a prosperous winery.
Climb through quiet forests and lush meadows towards your destination for tonight, Consuma. This small hamlet which can be traced back to the 15th Century now services holidaymakers visiting the Casentino National Park.
Day 4 16.7km
CONSUMA - MONTEMIGNAIO
Today's undulating walk is through pine and beech trees through small towns with sweeping views of this mountainous landscape of the Upper Arno Valley.
Your destination is Stia, at the foothills of Mount Falterona.
Traditionally a textile manufacturing town, today, much like Consuma it is a hub for visitors to the Casentino National Park. In the town square, which is more shaped like a triangle, there is a fresco by Pietro Annigoni that represents Saint Francis. Try the local speciality of “Tortello” a traditional dish of potatoes common to the Casentino region.
Day 5 24.5km
Todays walk offers more stunning views. Entering the ancient Casentino Forest you will come upon the Eremo Camaldoli, a Benedictine Hermitage. A short walk from the Hermitage is the village of Camaldoli where you can stop for a break and visit the Monastery.
Wander through a meadow of ferns to a pleasant Beech Forest and then oak and pine forests before arriving into Badia Prataglia. This town was established in the early 11th Century and due to the bountiful supply of wood from the forests the local craft of woodwork flourishes.
Day 6 16.4km
SANTUARIO DELLA VERNA
Today will be challenging but with your end stop the holy mountain retreat of St Francis it is well worth the effort.
Walk through forests and fern meadows, and across creeks to sweeping views of the region. You will visit the pretty village of Rimbocchi where you will have the opportunity to relax at the small park or grab a bite to eat in the café. Climb up to the summit of Poggio Montopoli before weaving through the forest of birch trees to what is widely regarded as one of the holiest spiritual sites in all of Italy, Santuario della Verna.
Perched on this remote location on Mount Penna it is easy to imagine St Francis here and appreciate why he loved this place. This is also where St Francis received the Stigmata.
Day 7 14.9km
SANTUARIO DELLA VERNA
PIEVE SANTO STEFANO
Meander the hills to a wooden cross to join part of the Grande Escursione Appenninica. Get your camera ready for the steep climb to Monte Calvano and then to the summit of Monte della Modina. After this summit, the rest of the walk is downhill to Pieve Santo Stefano which sits on the Upper Tiber River Valley.
This town was destroyed during World War II, leaving it without its former medieval charm. In memory to all those that lost their lives from this small town, there is a park of remembrance at the Shine of Our Lady of the Enlightenment, that is pleasant to visit.
Day 8 25.5km
PIEVE SANTO STEFANO
Follow both the Tiber River for a while before climbing past forests and farmland to enjoy the views of La Verne and Caprese Michelangelo.
Winding back down to the Tiber River you will make your way to Sansepolcro. This town is the home of Buitoni Pasta, founded by Giulia Buitoni.
In 1906 they built a hydroelectric power plant which allowed Sansepolcro to be the first Italian city to have electricity.