Some of the highlights along The Way of St. Francis
Santuario della Verna (La Verna, our starting point)
We start our walk from La Verna, a remote mountain retreat. As we leave the Sanctuary of La Verna, through the Casentino park, it is like walking back in time from the Renaissance into medieval times. This Sanctuary is considered one of the most holy and spiritual places in Italy, Santuario della Verna was one of St Francis cherished places, which he loved for its seclusion. Santuario della Verna is famous for being the place where St Francis received the stigmates in 1224. Due to its remote location the sanctuary has retained much of its seclude and peaceful character that it had when St Francis visited it more than 800 years ago.
5. Pieve Santo Stefano and Lago Montedoglio (province of Arezzo, Tuscany)
Pieve Sante Stefano town is known as the “City of the Diary” (Città del Diario) for the archive of over 7000 journals, diaries, letters and autobiographical memories gathered by journalist Saverio Tutino as a sort of memorial to the daily lives of ordinary people.
6. Gubbio (province of Perugia, Umbria)
Spread out over the steep slopes of Monte Ingino, Gubbio is one of the Italian towns in which the harsh conditions of life at St Francis’ time can most easily be imagined. The most important sites include the città vecchia (historic town center), the Palazzo dei Consoli and the Palazzo Ducale.
Since Medieval times Gubbio has been famous for its ceramics. Gubbio is also home to a remarkable discovery, the Tavole eugubine, seven bronze tablets inscribed in ancient Umbrian, a unique piece in the fields of linguistics.
7. Assisi (province of Perugia, Umbria)
The historic hill town of Assisi is the third most visited pilgrimage site in Italy. It is in Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Piazza del Comune that Francis and his friends first opened the Bible and found the call to poverty.The town includes several sights of interest, among which, of course, the Basilica di San Francesco, which contains the sandals and the tunic of St Francis. The Basilica, which was built in honor of St Francis and the event of his canonization, contains one of Europe’s greatest ensembles of 13th and 14th century frescoes.