Way of St. Francis in Italy - 14 Days

La Verna, Italy

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May 11, 2023 - May 24, 2023 Guaranteed $2,200.00
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May 11, 2024 - May 24, 2024 Guaranteed $2,200.00
10 Available

Experience an ocean of Mercy

A beautiful 14 day pilgrimage with 8 walking days, mixed with prayer and meditation. Find peace and feel the Divine as we meander through the Sacred Forest. we will saunter through Umbria and Tuscany, discovering quaint villages, wild fruit trees, local wines, and delicious foods. This soulful pilgrimage will not only feed your soul but wrap you in an ocean of Mercy!

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Overview

  • Step out of your comfort zone and say “yes”, open your heart and receive your answers, experience clarity.
  • Deepen your relationship to the Divine with prayer and meditation along this path.
  • Feel the presence of the Holy Spirit as we walk through the Sacred Forest, an 800-year-old pilgrim path.
  • Experience Tuscany and Umbria like a local. See what most people miss while visiting Italy.
  • Discover the history along this ancient pilgrim path.
  • Be wrapped in an ocean of mercy as you follow the procession of the stigmata on Mount La Verna where St. Francis received the wounds of Jesus.
  • Visit the quiet sanctuary of San Damiano where the crucifix spoke directly to St. Francis about his vocation.
  • Walk where St. Francis walked and pray where St. Francis prayed!
  • Explore quaint villages, savor your favorite cannoli and drink your favorite wines. Wait don’t forget about the Gelato!
  • Explore the cobblestone streets of Gubbio and Assisi.

Itinerary

Day 1
Depart USA

Day 2
Meet in Florence

Time to rest from your long flight, afternoon and evening in Florence.

Day 3
Florence to La Verna

We will gather as a group for Breakfast and have our introduction meeting. You will have a few hours to explore Florence and we will Depart for La Verna around 11 am. We will arrive in time to settle in and experience the awe-inspiring procession, and explore this amazing Sanctuary. Evening in La Verna.

Day 4
La Verna to Pieve Santo Stefano ... 15 km, 10 miles

After Breakfast, we will leave the Sanctuary of La Verna and make our way to Pieve Santo Stefano. The path leads us through the woods, fields, and villages.

Our resting place will be Pieve Santo Stefano. It is famous as the “City of diaries” because it is the home of a fascinating public archive, in which there is a collection of writings by ordinary people that reflect, in various forms, the life of all the people and the history of Italy: they are diaries, letters, and autobiographical memoirs.

You can draw inspiration for your own diary of your journey to Assisi.

Dinner and Evening in Pieve Santo Stefano.

Day 5
Pieve Santo Stefano to Sansepolcro 12 km ... 8 miles

After breakfast, we will transfer to our starting point. We will make our way through the hills and valleys, enjoying lunch with views all around us.

Stopping off at the Franciscan Hermitage of Montecasale, this is where the air is filled with the presence of St. Francis, who passed through here and converted three thieves. Relax and enjoy this beautiful sanctuary in the forest.

As we leave the hermitage, we will continue downhill towards Sansepolcro, the name of which refers to two pilgrims who returned from the Holy Land and founded a monastic community here. The town is a real treasure chest of beauty and in it, you will find famous works by Piero Della Francesca, Rosso Fiorentino, and other Renaissance masters.

This leg is challenging but one of the most memorable. The ups and downs will slow down your pace but perhaps they are a way of getting to know the “perfect joy” of St Francis.

Dinner and Evening in Sansepolcro

Day 6
Sansepolcro to Citerna 12 km ... 8 miles

After an early breakfast, we will take a moment and visit Sansepolcro. (if we didn’t get this chance when we arrived) Sculpted on the door of the Cathedral of Sansepolcro is the traditional image of the pilgrim, with a stick and knapsack, as if to create a bond of continuity, over the centuries, between the ancient and the modern spiritual travelers.

The walk to Citerna is a short leg, once we make our way out of the city streets the landscape becomes more gentle and the Umbrian countryside begins. We will be reaching the town of Citerna in less than four hours, which is where your journey through the land of St. Francis begins: Umbria.

The Village of Citerna, which is considered one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, stands on a hill in the Upper Tiber Valley and has the characteristics of a fortification functioning as a watchtower.

Places worth visiting in the old town center are the church museum dedicated to St. Francis, the Church of San Michele Arcangelo, in which you will find the precious Crucifixion by Pomarancio and a Madonna with Child of the Della Robbia school; a visit to the unusual medieval walkway within the walls is a must.

Day 7
Citerna to Città di Castello 20 km ... 13 miles

This route is about 20 km long and has a pleasant pace. From the rugged Apennine landscape of the previous legs, it takes you to the gentler landscape of the Upper Tiber Valley. The uphill stretches are not too demanding and you will be walking through fields and little villages.

Amid the horse chestnuts, oaks and downy oaks you will tackle uphill and downhill stretches without any steep slopes. Along the Way there are resting areas and drinking fountains where you can get food and water, among which there is a buffalo breeding farm that produces delicious mozzarella cheese. Once you have reached the ridge of the hills in the locality of Le Burge, you can enjoy a 180° view of the Tiber Valley and the Umbrian landscape, featuring hills, hillside villages, woods and churches.

Along the way, a votive shrine and an iron cross indicate the Franciscan hermitage of Buon Riposo to us, which gets its name from the fact that St Francis stopped here. The last stretch is downhill and leads to the simple, elegant façade of the Cathedral of Città di Castello, which welcomes pilgrims on their way to Assisi.

Città di Castello always had a very important cult of art: important artists worked here and solemn buildings and monumental churches were built, like the Cathedral, St Dominic and St Francis. Città di Castello is the home of one of the greatest Umbrian artists of the 20th century, Alberto Burri, whose works can be found in the town’s two museums. Not to be missed is the Diocesan Museum, where the Treasure of Canoscio is kept, one of the most ancient existing collections of objects for liturgical use, dating back to the Early Christina era.

Day 8
Città di Castello to Pietralunga, 17 km ... 11 miles

Today we will be transferred to our starting point. You will be walking through nature, climbing and descending between the hills and, along the trail.

There is one place which you must stop to enjoy, Pieve de Saddi. Pieve de’ Saddi, centre of the first Christianization of the Upper Tiber Valley and, for centuries, a religious centre for the entire mountain area. A great spot to sit and rest. Volunteers will give tours and refreshments all for a donation.

The path continues on with uphill and downhill areas through valleys and fields where the silence and peacefulness of the areas regenerate the spirit.

Day 9
Pietralunga to Gubbio 11 km ... 6 miles

Today we will be transferred to our starting point. We have shortened this walking day so you can arrive in Gubbio by lunch. Well-rested and ready to explore this beautiful city.

From Loreto, we make our way through cultivated fields and villages. You will reach a tree-lined panoramic viewpoint next to the church of San Giovanni Battista (usually closed, but the kind caretaker lives opposite the church).

You continue on downhill until you reach the locality of Abbadia di Piazza, where you carry on along a secondary road, alongside which there are majestic oak trees. From here, a long stretch in the sun and on the tarmac begins and you will come across the new “Fonte del Pellegrino” (Fountain of the Pilgrim), a gift to wayfarers from the Parish Church of San Venanzio in Sermonte – Rione del Piano – in the Diocese of Gubbio.

Your arrival in Gubbio is a reward, not only because of the beauty of the place but because of the strong bond that unites St Francis to the town.

In front of the church of St Francis, there is an endearing statue of Francis and the wolf, in memory of the miraculous taming of the ferocious beast by the Saint.

Give yourself time in town to walk around the town circuit known as the Path of “Fratello Lupo” (Brother Wolf), which allows pilgrims to visit the Franciscan places in the town, the “second home” of the Saint from Assisi.

Day 10
Gubbio to Agricultural Farmhouse 15 km ... 10 miles

Today we will make our way to an Agricultural Farmhouse. We will be staying in the countryside of Umbria. Along this road, St Francis proclaimed himself “herald of the Great King” when faced with the bandits who manhandled him. He reached a monastery (Abbey of Vallingegno), where he was received reluctantly and sent to work as a scullery boy in the kitchen. As a pilgrim, Saint Francis faced numerous challenges and difficulties, but these are what make the journey unique for anyone deciding to follow in his footsteps.

The first stretch leaving Gubbio is on the tarmac and you need to be careful. It continues on along a dirt road and once you reach the ridge, it is worth turning back to say goodbye to Gubbio.

You continue on walking between the valley of the Chiascio river and the castles standing on the hilltops. In the distance, on clear days, you can get a glimpse of Monte Subasio.

Enjoy the evening in this rural countryside farmhouse.

Day 11
Valfabbrica to Assisi 13.5 kms ... 8 miles

Today we will be transferred to Valfabbrica.

Today is a great day! After the long days of walking, of effort and joy, uphill and downhill, the journey to Assisi in the footsteps of St Francis is coming to an end. This leg of the journey requires a final effort in order to tackle the uphill and downhill stretches.

The route starts in the silence of the hills and woods, and then from Pieve San Niccolò the landscape opens up over the valleys with olive groves and vineyards. The first stretch is in the forest and you will have to tackle a few challenging uphill areas in the woods.

You will stand in awe at the point where you see the Basilica of St. Francis for the first time. Take a moment and reflect on your journey. This is one of the most beautiful moments of the journey, which foretells the joy of your arrival. Once you reach Assisi on foot, in the locality of Ponte de Galli, there is the lower point of access to the Bosco di San Francesco (Forest of St Francis) of the FAI (Italy’s National Trust – make an offer to enter). We will make the donation and make our way up to Assis through the woods. This is the way pilgrims would leave Assisi to make their way to Santiago de Compostela. (Imagine walking from Assisi to Santiago!)

The majestic façade of the Basilica of St Francis, when lit up by the sun, is the first reward of the journey. The great moment has come: you only need to reach the Saint’s tomb. Here, in the soft everlasting light, pilgrims can gather their thoughts in prayer and meditate about the journey they have been on.

Next to the entrance to the Lower Basilica, there is the Statio Peregrinorum, where you can collect your well-deserved Testimonium (for those who have travelled 100 km on foot or 200 km by bike) or the Chartula Peregrini, which will allow you to remember your journey forever.

Day 12
Assisi / Eremo delle Carceri

Today we will explore Assisi.

Perched on the forested slopes of Monte Subasio, this monastery is set around the caves where St Francis and his followers prayed and contemplated spiritual matters. The carceri (isolated places, or ‘prisons’) are as peaceful today as in St Francis’ time, even though they’re now surrounded by religious buildings. It’s a claustrophobic walk down to Francesco’s Grotta (cave), where he prayed and slept on a stone bed in his later years.

The oak woods around the Eremo are criss-crossed by several hiking trails. As you walk, look out for a series of bronze statues of St. Francis (kicking back on the ground, sandals off) and two friars, Ginepro and Leone, staring at the constellations.

The Eremo is about 4km east of Assisi – allow about an hour to walk there, less for the downhill return.

Day 13
Assisi

Free Day in Assisi

Day 14
Depart for home or extended stay

Included:

  • Accommodations Double Rooms
  • Van Transfers
  • Breakfast
  • Packed Lunches
  • Dinner
  • Luggage Transport
  • Two Guides
  • Spiritual Exercises

Not Included:

  • Airfare - International
  • Tips

You can send your enquiry via the form below.

Way of St. Francis in Italy
From $2,200.00
per Adult

Trip Facts

  • $250 additional for single room
  • $300 deposit of which $150 is non-refundable
  • Limited to 15 pilgrims

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