The St Francis Way, also called Cammino di Francesco or Via Francigena di San Francesco, is a walking trail inspired by the life of St Francis of Assisi. St Francis of Assisi is a spiritual guide for nature lovers and ecologists; known for his philosophy and love for nature.
The St Francis Way takes an ancient Roman road between Florence and Rome following in the footsteps of Saint Francis across stunning and peaceful countryside, passing important Franciscan sites such as Assisi and Rieti, in Umbria. The Cammino di Francesco or St Francis Way finishes at the Vatican and has been followed by many pilgrims inspired by the life St Francis of Assisi. This is quite a challenging route (particularly section 1 and 3) we recommend only for experienced walkers. Read more articles about the St Francis Way, the Camino di Francesco, on our blog.
This is the full itinerary for the Saint Francis Way (Via Francigena di San Francesco or Cammino di Francesco), with traditional stages. Please note that ‘split days’ have not been included in the table.
|Pontassieve||22||The first section of the St Francis Way starts at Basilica di Santa Croce in Florence, the largest Franciscan Church in the world, is the natural and symbolic starting point of your own journey on the St Francis Way, the Cammino di Francesco, also called Via Francigena di San Francesco. You will start your walk in splendid Florence and walk across north-east Tuscany, following in the footsteps of St Francis: from the banks of the River Arno in Florence to the River Tiber in Sansepolcro. This is quite a challenging walk, recommended only for experienced walkers, but the landscapes along the trail are breathtaking. You will walk over hills, across mountain passes, natural parks and many spiritual points linked to the life of Saint Francis, such as the Sacro Eremo di Camaldoli and La Verna Sanctuary. The symbolic arrival point of your journey is the cathedral in the ancient walled town of Sansepolcro. Make sure you take time to explore Sansepolcro’s ancient alleys, visit the superb local museum and enjoy a bite of delicious Italian food.|
|Santuario della Verna||18|
|Citerna||13||The second section of the St Francis Way will take you into northern Umbria, Italy’s green heart and also known as ‘Bella Umbria’ (beautiful Umbria). As you leave Florence and the Apennine Mountains and forests behind, the landscape opens on a wide flat valley, surrounded by hills topped with picture-perfect little medieval villages and towns. Take time to wander their cobbled streets, admire their heritage and taste the traditional local delicacies. The town of Gubbio is one of your stops along the way. A pilgrimage called ‘Path of Francis’ takes place from Gubbio to Assisi every year in early September. Your destination for this section is Assisi and the St Francis Basilica, Basilica di San Francesco. This little town on the flanks of Mount Subasio is the centre, both in a spiritual and geographical sense, of your journey on the St Francis Way. This is where Saint Francis was born in the year 1189 and where he died in 1226: the great Basilica built on his tomb contains some of the most important frescoes of the Middle Ages. Assisi is an open-air museum where you should explore its medieval walls, castle, alleys, churches and buildings, as well as its subterranean Roman quarter.|
|Città di Castello||20|
|Foligno||20||The third section of the St Francis Way starts in Assisi, the spiritual centre of the St Francis Way, the trail takes you across southern Umbria, also known as ‘Bella Umbria’ (beautiful Umbria). In Saint Francis Way, the region reached as far as Rieti. From the flanks of Mount Subasio, overlooking the Tiber Valley and the Spoletan Valley, the Saint Francis Way takes walkers to many stunning art-cities such as Spello, Foligno, Trevi; across olive groves, open fields, forests and mountain passes with spectacular views. In this section of the St Francis Way, you will walk through delightful medieval towns, many important points of Franciscan interest and the impressive Marmore Waterfalls, created by the Romans and one of the highest in Europe. Along the way, you will also get to visit the Sanctuary of Poggio Bustone, the oldest Franciscan settlement outside Assisi. Your journey ends at the bronze statue of Saint Francis in the city of Rieti, considered the ‘mother of Rome’. In Rieti, don’t forget to request your St Francis Way pilgrimage certificate at the offices of Rieti Tourism Board.|
|Campello sul Clitunno||20|
|Poggio San Lorenzo||22||The fourth and last section of the Saint Francis Way, starts in ‘Via Salaria’ which is part of an ancient road system, developed by the Sabini peoples long before the foundation of Rome. Thirty centuries later, it is still the main road linking Rieti to Rome over the lush Sabinian countryside. Section 4 of the St Francis Way follows this ancient path across Rieti and takes you all the way to St Peter’s Square in Rome, the Eternal City. On this section of the St Francis Way you will walk across picturesque countryside, passing many historic buildings and quaint medieval villages along the way, as well as endless woodlands and olive groves. Once in Rome, you can obtain your ‘Testimonium peregrinationis peractae’ certificate from the pilgrims office by showing your stamped pilgrim passport or credential. We can also arrange for a free papal audience on Wednesdays, talk to the team.|
|St Peter’s Basilica||15|
The St Francis Way or Way of St Francis is also known as Cammino di Francesco or Via Francigena di San Francesco. The trail, inspired by the life and work of Saint Francis of Assisi, starts in Florence in Tuscany and finishes in Rome; taking some of the most important Franciscan sites in Italy such as La Verna sanctuary, Assisi and the Rieti Valley.
The St Francis Way is, in a way, a combination of many shorter pilgrimages to some of the Franciscan sanctuaries along the route.
Florence: UNESCO-listed for its magnificent artistic and architectural heritage, Florence is not only a must-visit in Tuscany but also home to the world’s largest Franciscan church: the Basilica di Santa Croce. The temple marks the starting point of the St Francis Way.
La Verna Sanctuary: is located in a peaceful mountain location surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty. It is here where St Francis and his followers meditated and where St Francis experienced the stigmata.
Assisi: is the home town, as well as the burial place, of Saint Francis and the most important Franciscan pilgrimage destination. A UNESCO-listed city-sanctuary, Assisi is unique for its rich spiritual heritage, as well as its medieval art and architecture. Assisi is the spiritual centre of the St Francis Way.
It was in the Rieti Valley, also known as the Sacred Valley, where many important episodes in the life of St Francis took place. It was in the Rieti Valley where he founded the Franciscan order for instance. On this section of the St Francis Way you will encounter and have the chance to visit many chapels and places of interest related to the life of St Francis such as the Sanctuary of Poggio Bustone, the oldest Franciscan settlement outside Assisi.
Crossing natural parks, mountain passes and valleys on the Apennine Mountains and stunning medieval hill-top towns and villages; the spectacular nature, landscapes and heritage of the St Francis Way make this route to Rome unforgettable. However, due to its mountainous terrain, we recommend the St Francis Way only to experienced walkers. Talk to our travel specialists if you need advice about this particular route.
The markings for the St Francis Way will vary: on the first section from Florence to Sansepolcro you will mainly follow red and white long distance markings. From Sansepolcro, you will be able to follow the blue and yellow St Francis Way signposts.
A pilgrim passport stamped along the way will allow you to get your St Francis Way certificate in Rieti and your ‘Assisiana’ in Assisi; in addition to your Testimonium if you finish in Rome.