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Way of St Francis
a pilgrimage trail
go to the guides
inspired by the life of St Francis of Assisi
The Way of St Francis or Cammino di Francesco is a pilgrimage trail that makes you discover at the same time treasures of great historical and cultural interest, and the main places of the spiritual life of St. Francis of Assisi. It crosses Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio and brings you walking for long stretches in contact with uncontaminated nature, immersed in green valleys and enchanted woods, touching upon small medieval villages rich in history and visiting some of the major Italian cities of art. The itinerary includes about 290 km from Florence to Assisi, passing through Camaldoli, La Verna and Gubbio: places which were very dear to the Saint. From Florence to La Verna the itinerary follows the connecting routes that the Franciscan monks once used to reach Florence through the Casentino. The route then continues along the ancient road that connected Assisi, main residence place of St. Francis, to the mountain of Verna in Tuscany, which was his destination for his numerous and prolonged heremite periods. This part of the route is quite wild, but rich in panoramic views and spectacular landscapes, many up and down hills and mountains, which can make the journey a bit more tiring compared to the first part of the route. It therefore requires a very good physical condition and familiarity with mountain trails. Along the Tuscan stretch, from Florence to La Verna, the Via di Francesco is marked by yellow signs and white-red markings. From La Verna to Assisi, on the other hand, it is the yellow-blue signs and the yellow markings that accompany the walkers and allow travel in both directions. In any case, it is helpful to have a map or a guide to navigate better along the journey.
Map of The Way
of St Francis
From Florence to La Verna
The itinerary retraces the connection routes that the Franciscan monks used to maintain with Florence. Starting from Piazza Santa Croce, the route follows the Arno River up to Pontassieve and then enters Casentino through the Passo della Consuma. The path then continues through the charming town of Stia to enter the Casentino Forests, Monte Falterona, and Campigna National Park. The journey reaches the Eremo di Camaldoli, a place beloved by Francis, which houses a cell dedicated to him. The route follows mountain trails and, immersed in the greenery of the forests, reaches the Sanctuary of La Verna. It was on this mountain, gifted to him by Count Orlando Cattani, that a first hermitic community was established with his closest companions. It was there, on September 17, 1224, that Francis received the miracle of the stigmata. The Sanctuary was erected there and over time has become one of the most important places of worship for the Franciscan community.
From La Verna to Assisi:
The route follows the ancient road that connected Assisi, the main residence of Francis, to Mount La Verna in Tuscany, a destination for numerous and extended periods of hermitic retreat for the Saint. It passes through hills covered in woods and cultivated valleys, traversing trails, mule tracks, and secondary roads that lead from Casentino to the Tiber Valley, where the towns of Pieve Santo Stefano and Sansepolcro are encountered. It passes by the Eremo del Cerbaiolo and the Eremo di Montecasale, immersed in the forests of the Alpe della Luna Nature Reserve, to enter Umbria and reach Citerna and Città di Castello. Finally, it arrives in Gubbio, considered the second home of Francis, where he took refuge in 1207 after leaving Assisi and renouncing material possessions. It was in this city, in contact with lepers, that he underwent his conversion and began a life dedicated to the poor. The route crosses the verdant territory of the Upper Tiber Valley until reaching Assisi. The journey concludes at the Basilica of San Francesco, which houses the tomb of the Saint.
Where to Stay Along the Via di Francesco
Along the path of Francis, there is a well-distributed network of accommodation facilities. The constant and admirable work of associations, volunteers, and enthusiasts ensures a network of reasonably priced accommodations at many stopping points. In our guide, we provide a complete list of lodgings, ranging from simple accommodations in convents and parishes to agriturismi and hotels, offering the possibility to choose according to personal preferences and budget. Remember that it is always very important to make reservations a few days in advance, especially for simpler accommodations.
The Best Time to Undertake the Cammino di Francesco
The recommended periods for undertaking the Cammino di Francesco are May/June and September/October. The mild temperatures and sufficiently long days of spring and autumn are excellent for walking. In summer, temperatures can be very hot, especially in the valley sections. Planning to start early in the morning will allow you to complete each stage before the excessive heat. Remember to bring an adequate amount of water with you. In winter, the Cammino di Francesco is considerably more challenging. The backpack is much heavier, there are fewer daylight hours for walking, and especially in mountainous areas, snow, mud, and fog can test the pilgrim's endurance. It is advisable to have good physical preparation and resistance to cold, and it is a good practice to inquire about weather conditions and the state of the trails stage by stage before setting off.
The Pilgrim Credential
The pilgrim credential is the travel document that serves to certify the journey undertaken. It contains the stamps and dates of the places reached on foot or by bicycle during the pilgrimage. The credential entitles you to: * have access to simple accommodations along the route. * receive the "Testimonium Viae Francisci" upon arrival in Assisi as proof of the completed pilgrimage.
The Pilgrim Credential can be obtained by: * personally visiting certain convents and parishes along the Via di Francesco. * downloading this Credential Request Form and sending it via email to any Pilgrim Office in Assisi or Perugia. The credential will be sent by mail, so it should be requested at least 3 weeks before departure.
The Testimonium (Testimonium Peregrinationis Peractae ad Sanctorum Francisci et Clarae Civitatem) is the religious certificate that attests to the completed pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Francis in Assisi. To receive it, one must have walked at least the last 100 km of the Via di Francesco on foot (or 200 km by bicycle). The stamps and dates on one's Pilgrim Credential are considered proof. Once in Assisi, you must go to the Offices of the Sacro Convento - Basilica Papale di San Francesco d'Assisi, at Piazza Inferiore di San Francesco, 2 - open every day from 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM and from 2:00 PM to 5:30 PM. For information, Tel. +39 075819001 Email: email@example.com
Where to sleep in the
most important stages of The Way of St Francis
- Badia Prataglia
- Chiusi della Verna
- Città di Castello
- Civitas Vaticana - Città del Vaticano
- Pieve Santo Stefano
- Poggio Bustone
- Poggio San Lorenzo
- Ponticelli Sabino
- San Pietro in Vigneto