After enjoying the capital of the Renaissance, step back in time to ancient forests and monasteries of the Middle Ages. The beautiful Casentino National Forest is the setting and St Francis’s beloved Santuario della Verna atop serene Mount Penna with its active Franciscan convent is the first goal. His hometown is the final destination. In between, walk among the towns and forests that were his inspiration, including the town of Gubbio where he made peace with the wolf, and Montecasale where he converted the three thieves. At Valfabbrica he was robbed and stripped and, of course, at Assisi he was born and was buried. No itinerary brings you closer to the person and the legend than walking from Florence to Assisi on the Way of St Francis. Group pricing to be announced in December, 2023.
“What you are looking for is where you are looking from.” – St Francis of Assisi
“A pilgrimage is a significant journey, often to a sacred place, undertaken to find new perspective. This magnificent walk through medieval towns and ancient forests in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi offer a chance to reflect and learn from a man who nearly 800 years after his death is still inspiring us with his words and life. It is an opportunity to enjoy not only the nature, art and culture of this place but to step out of our conditioned lives and experience the world and ourselves anew. Through days filled with walking, fellowship, good food, and contemplative exercises, we rediscover how to live from our most authentic selves. Communing with yourself and a small group of pilgrims allows you space to rediscover your sense of joy, confidence, and clarity. Laura Harris
Itinerary for Florence to Assisi:
Monday, April 15, 2024 – Gather, overnight in Florence
– Capital of the Renaissance, gather here to meet other participants and orient yourself to the walk. Dinner at a Florence restaurant and overnight in Florence.
Tuesday, April 16, 2024 – Florence to Pontassieve (18.9km/11.7miles)
– Walk along the quiet banks of the Arno River among locals and overnight at Pontassieve in the suburbs of Florence. Overnight in Pontassieve.
Wednesday, April 17, 2024 – Pontassieve to Consuma (17.8km/11.1miles)
– Vineyards turn to forests as you climb to the first reaches of the Casentino National Forest where you’ll remain for the next days. Overnight near Consuma.
Thursday, April 17, 2024 – Consuma to Stia (17.0km/10.6miles)
– Almost exclusively on paths and gravel roads, see the green side of Tuscany and the first hints of breathtaking mountain views. Sita stands at the headwaters of the Arno amidst forests of oak, birch and pine. Overnight in Stia.
Friday, April 18, 2024 – Stia to Camaldoli (16.6km/10.3miles)
– For over 1000 years monks and hermits have called Camaldoli their home. See their chapels and shop among their soaps and medicinal herbs at Camoldoli Hermitage and Monastery. Overnight in Camaldoli.
Saturday, April 19, 2024 – Camaldoli to Badia Prataglia (15.0km/9.3miles)
– Take the van uphill for a visit to the Camaldoli Hermitage where hermit monks live and pray to this day, then walk among forests to the lovely resort town of Badia Prataglia, nestled in a narrow valley of the Casentine forest. See the 1000 year old crypt, last remnant of the abbey from which Badia Prataglia gets its name. Overnight in Badia Prataglia.
Sunday, April 20, 2024 – Badia Prataglia to Santuario della Verna (20.1km/12.5miles)
– Take the van for a brief trip to the start of the hike, then walk across the Madrioli Pass with views of the Adriatic Sea in good weather to Monte Penna, site of the beloved Santuario della Verna, a functioning Franciscan convent and one of Italy’s holiest places. Overnight in the convent or in Chiusi della Verna.
Monday, April 21, 2024 – Santuario della Verna to Pieve Santo Stefano (15.2km/9.4miles)
– After a downhill walk on forested paths the Tiber Valley opens up and the mountain town of Pieve Santo Stefano welcomes us. Overnight Pieve Santo Stefano.
Tuesday, April 22, 2024 – Pieve Santo Stefano to Sansepolcro (24.3km/15.1miles)
–Take the van to the Viamaggio Pass, then walk mostly downhill in forests to Sansepolcro, stopping along the way at Montecasale, one of the oldest St Francis sites, where the saint converted three thieves. Athletic walkers can begin walk to Viamaggio, stopping at the 8th c Cerbaiolo hermitage to see this beautifully restored site that was given to St Francis in 1216 and was an overnight stay for St Anthony of Padua.
Wednesday, April 23, 2024 – Sansepolcro to Citerna (12.7km/7.9miles)
– A flat walk through farms ending with a short climb up to the walled, hilltop town of Citerna with its sweeping views of the Tiber Valley and the mountains beyond.
Thursday, April 24, 2024 – Citerna to Città di Castello (20.3km/12.6miles)
– A green day of farms nurturing sunflowers. Climb the famed cylindrical tower at Città di Castello and enjoy the delicacies of this picturesque town. Dinner is not included at Città di Castello so you have an opportunity to explore the gastronomic pleasures of this beautiful Umbrian town.
Wednesday, April 25, 2024 – Città di Castello to Pietralunga (29.8km/18.5miles)
– From the Tiber Valley climb a pass toward the Chiascio Alto, the headwaters of the river that waters Assisi, before your overnight at medieval Pietralunga. It’s a “pizza experience” in Pietralunga, where we order off the menu in a traditional pizzeria.
Thursday, April 26, 2024 – Pietralunga to Gubbio (26.5km/16.5miles)
– Everyone loves medieval Gubbio, the town of the Ceri races, the wolf tamed by Francis, and acrobatic funicular that ascends to Basilica San Ubaldo above the settlement.
Friday, April 27, 2024 – Gubbio to Biscina (22.7km/14.1miles)
– The Chiascio River drains these forested hillsides among castles and convents ending in a hostel stay in a former hermitage.
Saturday, April 28, 2024 – Biscina to Valfabbrica (15.9km/9.9miles)
Lake Valfabbrica is a constant companion as you near beautiful Assisi.
Sunday, April 29, 2024 – Valfabbrica to Assisi (13.4km/8.3miles)
– Climb the ridge separating the two towns and see Assisi’s Rocca Maggiore and then the beloved Basilica San Francesco. Receive the final stamp on our pilgrim passports and then your testimoniumthat confirms completion of your pilgrimage walk. A 6:00 mass in the Basilica welcomes all pilgrims. Afterward toast your accomplishment over a beautiful dinner with your pilgrim companions.
Monday, April 30, 2024 – Depart Assisi – (overnight option, tour option)
You’ve had a memorable pilgrimage in unforgettable scenery accompanied all the way by the memory and spirit of St. Francis.