When the Pliny the Younger wrote to his friend Apolinnare describing the area he said “the town appears beautiful: imagine a vast amphitheater that only nature can produce…”. If you set off from the source of the river Tiber and travel down through beautiful, green countryside you suddenly find yourself in the Val Tiberina. You journey from Tuscany to Umbria, from Sansepolcro to Città di Castello surrounded by lush green hills that are like a renaissance fresco. There are wide plains, gentle hills, fields, woods castles, churches farmhouses and villas. The natural environment seems unspoiled and man lives in harmony with his surroundings. There is a sense of peace and the structures that have survived from the past have created an invaluable cultural heritage. It is the Tiber river that runs for about 50 kilometers through the wide, fertile plain that has influenced the local history in so many ways. There are numerous foot-paths that criss-cross the area and the most famous is the “St. Francis Way” that starts in La Verna Shrine and goes past most of St Francis’ favorite places. Churches, convents and hermitages are off the normal tourist routes but have great spiritual meaning and historical value.
A route to reach Assisi following St Francis footsteps, whether from North (La Verna) or South (Rome).
Coming from Assisi, you can decide to reach the Eternal City on foot, following the St Francis Way – to Rome.
St Francis Way is an itinerary on foot, by bicycle and on horseback, linking several “places” witnessing the life and preaching of the Saint of Assisi; a “new” pilgrimage route, which intends to reintroduce the Franciscan experience through lands the Poor Man walked on his travels. In its adherence to the story of St Francis, the Way is plausible and charming: the landscapes the pilgrim will see are the same that brought joy to the simple heart of St Francis; stop-off locations preserve the memory of his words and his gestures; people you meet along the route are related to him. In spite of everything, Umbria has remained Francesco’s land, nourished by a spirituality that speaks of love for the small things, respect and gratitude for creation, of generous hospitality to next man, whoever he may be.
Walking along the St Francis’ Way is, an authentic spiritual journey that satisfies man’s desire, even modern, seeking for the meaning of his own existence, deeply within himself. St Francis, towering over Assisi, which is the final destination of the walk, truly is accompanying you throughout the journey, speaking to heart and mind of the traveler, about the possibility of leading your everyday life in harmony with the world, with men and with God. That is the precious art of living and the most authentic result of the journey to Assisi: a gift St Francis, the Umbrian Saint, is able to give the pilgrim or any person approaching him with open heart.