Ahead of your walking adventure on the St Francis Way, you will be booked in an en-suite hotel room in the centre of the town. Take your time to explore and marvel at the great architecture of one of the most beautiful cities in the world: Florence !
2 Florence to Pontassieve - 22km
6h30 | +424m / -377m
The St Francis Way starts officially from the Basilica of Santa Croce, the largest Franciscan church outside Assisi. Walking along the busy streets of Florence, you will head north to Porta San Gallo and then east along the foot of the Fiesole hill and into the rim of green hills hovering over the Arno River. From Settignano (180m) you will be able to catch the last glimpse of the Brunelleschi’s Dome, before descending to river level in Compiobbi. Avoiding the busy Via Aretina as much as possible, you will continue partly along the river bank and partly over hillsides, passing by Sieci and the little church of San Martino a Quona. Your stop for the night is Pontassieve (110m), an ancient walled territory by the Arno’s tributary Sieve.
3 Pontassieve to Consuma - 19km
6h15 | +1217m / -293m
Today you will start from Pontassieve, crossing the 16th century bridge giving the town its name. You will follow the track of an ancient road, climbing amid Chianti vineyards, up to the village of Diacceto (460m). After descending to Pelago (320m), you will head into the mountains over Paterno and reach the first mountain pass of the route: Passo della Consuma (1050m).
4 Consuma to Stia - 15km
4h30 | +285m / -841m
You will now leave the administrative province (county) of Florence and enter Arezzo. Today you will be heading mostly downhill, coming across isolated houses and a couple of very small villages, before you reach Stia (450m), a picturesque village and resort by the Arno, just sprung off the overhanging Mount Falterona.
5 Stia to Badia Prataglia - 21km
6h | +1589m / -1182m
We begin by gently ascending across a couple of small villages, then we head towards the Sacro Eremo di Camaldoli (1200m), surrounded by white-fir forests. We continue along trails among the woods and some stretches of local roads, with only a few isolated buildings here and there; then we head down to the mountain village and winter resort of Badia Prataglia (840m).
6 Badia Prataglia to Santuario della Verna - 18km
4h45 | +1034m / -746m
Today, the St Francis Way continues across forests, climbing up to 1100m and then down a bit to the mountain village of Frassineta, then further down to Rimbocchi (550m), and up again to La Verna (1120m), where you will find one of the greatest Franciscan sanctuaries. It is another challenging walking day but the effort will be rewarded with superb landscapes.
7 Santuario della Verna to Caprese Michelangelo - 16km
5h | +441m / -856m
After leaving the sanctuary area at La Verna, you will not come across any building nor walk on asphalt roads until near the end of the day. You will start by climbing to the top of Monte Calvano (1260m). Further on, Passo delle Pratelle (1075m) is a watershed between the north and south sides of the Apennines. Heading eastwards into the mountains, when you are half-way we leave the main trail to reach the isolated Eremo di Cerbaiolo (780m), an ancient Franciscan chapel on top of a rock. One single hermit lives here and, when he is around, he welcomes pilgrims (not tourists) into the little compound. You will then continue to Caprese Michelangelo.
8 Caprese Michelangelo to Sansepolcro - 25km
6h30 | +178m / -840m
We enter the Alpe della Luna nature reserve, that we cross mainly on dirt roads, over a maximum altitude of about 1100m; at about halfway, we reach the aptly-named village of Montagna (670m), a favourite resort for the people of Sansepolcro. We continue over the mountains to Eremo di Montecasale (710m), an important Franciscan shrine inhabited by a few friars who will be happy to show you around. From there we descend to the Sasso Spicco waterfall and follow the brook down to the bottom of the valley, cross up to the other side and finally descend to the beautiful medieval town by the Tiber of Sansepolcro (330m), at the edge of a wide lush plane.
9 Sansepolcro to Citerna - 13km
3h30 | +227m / -142m
You will start your St Francis Way journey leaving walled Sansepolcro by Porta Fiorentina and walking down the main road to Arezzo. Past the industrial area and across the bridge over the Tiber, you will continue on secondary roads across the flat countryside. Fighille, in the province of Perugia, is the first village over the regional border between Tuscany and Umbria, lying at the foot of the hill, topped by the beautiful medieval town of Citerna (480m). It is highly recommended to take an extra 4 km walk, downhill and back, to see the ‘Madonna del Parto’ in the neighbouring little town of Monterchi (350m).
10 Citerna to Città di Castello - 20km
5h45 | +110m / -282m
Today you will start your walk heading downhill amid open fields. It you have not gone to Monterchi the day before, you can do it now by following an alternative route. A winding country road over the hills will take you to Le Burgne (agriturismo). Across the beautiful countryside, dotted with scattered villas and farmhouses, you will reach Lerchi and uphill again you will get to the ancient Franciscan convent of Eremo del Buonriposo (520m). Finally, it is downhill again to Città di Castello (290m), the largest town in Umbria, north of Perugia.
11 Città di Castello to Collevecchio - 15km
3h | +304m / -183m
From Città di Castello the path takes into the hills on the east side of the Valtiberina. Over country roads, get to the spectacular Molino del Sasso on the river Soara, then up into the mountains, amid woods and vineyards, to Collevecchio (570m). You will be picked up and taken to your accommodation for the night. You will be brought back to the same place after breakfast to continue where you left it.
12 Collevecchio to Pietralunga - 16km
5h30 | +677m / -519m
Today you will be taken back to Colevecchio to continue your St Francis Way journey. The trail takes you across hills, heading up and down amid woods and open fields. Your stop for the night is the town of Pietralunga (565m).
13 Pietralunga to Gubbio - 26km
7h30 | +850m / -896m
Today, the St Francis Way will continue heading East into the mountainous pre-Apennine area, past the ancient Abbey of San Benedetto Vecchio (630m). The path then winds its way around Monte Spesce, up to Poggio del Prato (780m), amid woods and a few scattered houses. You will head downhill again, passing isolated little villages on your way; as well as the church of Loreto (530m) and Casamorcia (440m), where you will finally find bars and restaurants, as well as an hotel. The path then continues over a flat country road, to reach the Roman Theatre and the church of St Francis in Gubbio (520m).
14 Gubbio to Biscina - 22km
6h15 | +527m / -609m
Today, you will start your walk from Gubbio passing by the little church of Vittorina and following a little straight road across the flat countryside. The trail will then continue uphill amid woods to Valdichiascio (650m); in the area you will find the Abbey of Vallingegno. Over dirt roads and trails, you will pass by the Church of Caprignone before reaching Biscina (520m), an ancient castle with a nearby agriturismo.
15 Biscina to Assisi - 29km
8h15 | +1167m / -1126m
From the hilltop town of Biscina, overlooking the artificial lake of Valfabbrica, you will follow a country road over the hills that surround the lake, passing by the Pieve di Coccorano (440m) and the dam. The St Francis Way then continues downhills to Barcaccia (270m), an ancient farmhouse where St Francis used to rest, and, just past the crossroads to Ripa and Perugia, onward to the bridge over the River Chiascio, then up to Valfabbrica (290m), the first refreshment point on the way. You will leave the little town on a country road and into the hills again: Pieve San Nicolò (570m) lays less than 1 km off the path. You will continue gently downhill amid olive trees and vineyards, already seeing Assisi in the distance, then you will continue through the woods to an ancient stone bridge on River Tescio, Ponte di Santa Croce (270m), at the foot of Mount Subasio. A steep road will take you to Porta San Giacomo and to the St Francis Basilica in Assisi (370m).
16 Assisi to Foligno - 20km
6h15 | +623m / -847m
From Assisi, you will start your St Francis Way journey at Porta Perlici or Porta Cappuccini, walking up to Eremo delle Carceri (800m). After that, you will continue down the western flank of Mount Subasio, past the former monastery of San Benedetto al Subasio (740m) and Sasso Rosso (830m), a rock offering breathtaking views of Valle Umbra. You will then continue down and up again past Mount Pietrolungo. The trail then goes down among some trees and olive groves, taking you to just outside the walls of Spello. Wander the streets of this beautiful medieval town and continue on the flat bottom of the valley on country roads up to the outskirts and into the centre of Foligno (235m), your stop for the night.
17 Foligno to Campello sul Clitunno - 20km
6h15 | +214m / -221m
Today you will start your St Francis Way walk along the straight road to San’Eraclio (230m), then on a country road surrounded by olive trees, a little above the valley, on your way to the village of Matigge (280m). You will pass quaint little villages and churches before taking a short steep trail up to the convent of San Martino and the panoramic road taking walkers to the beautiful medieval town of Trevi (410m). Downhill out of town, you will pass the convent of Madonna delle Lacrime and the church of Croce di Bovara. Over the flanks of Mount Padrafitta you will head to an isolated Franciscan chapel (520m) overlooking Borgo San Benedetto. For the last part of the day, you will take a solitary mountain road among olive groves on your way to Castello di Campello (480m).
18 Campello sul Clitunno to Spoleto - 12km
5h30 | +564m / -416m
From picturesque Campello you will continue your journey on the St Francis Way. After following a local road for a little while, you will join the main road briefly, passing a couple of small villages then turning onto a dirt trail descending amid olive trees to the elegant village of Poreta (340m) and up to its castle (450m). Walking up and down over the countryside, between the valley and the mountains, you will pass Bazzano Superiore (570m), Bazzano Inferiore (360m) and Eggi (350m), at the extreme corner of the Valle Spoletana. Your stop for the night is Spoleto (390m) where you should visit its beautiful cathedral.
19 Spoleto to Ceselli - 16km
4h30 | +1141m / -1221m
Today, you should start by getting to Rocca d’Albornoz, at the top of the town, and across the spectacular Ponte delle Torri. A steep trail takes you up to the Franciscan sanctuary of Monteluco (780m). You will walk across woods and meadows to get to the pass of Forca delle Porelle (911m), then cross lush forests to reach the other side of the mountain. Downhill into the province of Terni, you will pass the ghost-village of Sensati and the community of Le Cese further down. You will continue downhill past the rural village of Nevi and the renovated Pontuglia on your way to Ceselli (270m) and Valtiberina.
20 Ceselli to Arrone - 15km
4h30 | +471m / -507m
Leaving Ceselli, you will start by crossing the bridge over the River Nera to follow a country road between the river and the mountains. The first village on your way is Colleponte, with Macenano on the opposite side of the bridge. A dirt road will take you then to Precetto (250m), with Ferentillo just across the river; here the narrow valley opens up into a small plane. Another dirt road follows the river down to Arrone (230m).
21 Arrone to Piediluco - 13km
3h45 | +504m / -345m
Today you have a short walking day ahead. After a short walk to Castel di Lago, you will continue following river on a pleasant country road, down to the edge of Collestatte Piano (220m). You will now be close to the bottom side of the impressive Marmore Waterfalls, a man-made waterfall created by the Romans and the tallest in Europe. A steep trail in the woods will take you to the top side and the village of Marmore (380m). A short walk will take you to the banks of the River Velino, that feeds the falls; you will then walk upstream on a smooth trail taking you to Lake Piediluco; you will be able to see the village, on the opposite side of this small but very beautiful lake. You will continue along the lake banks to the little town of Piediluco (380m).
22 Piediluco to Poggio Bustone - 22km
6h | +1205m / -893m
Today, you will begin by crossing the regional border with Lazio, into the province of Rieti. The St Francis Way trail climbs up to Labro (630m), a medieval village, perfectly preserved, topped by a castle overlooking the lake: you have begun the crossing over the flanks of the Reatini mountain range: the next village is Morro Reatino (740m), then you will start climbing a mountain road, with spectacular views of ‘Valle Santa’, leading to the St Francis Beech-tree (1100m) and the little chapel of Saint Francis. From there you will descend across meadows and woods to the shepherds hamlet of Cepparo (850m) and continue across woods and along the flanks of Mount Rosato to the Sanctuary of Poggio Bustone (818m).
23 Poggio Bustone to Rieti - 17km
4h45 | +87m / -414m
You can start today’s walk by hiking an extra stretch of about 2 km up to the rustic chapel of Sacro Speco (1000m) and back to the sanctuary. The path will take you first into the little town of Poggio Bustone, just below the sanctuary, and into the country and woods hanging on the mountainside. You will then pass the village of San Liberato and the historic town of Cantalice, hanging on the rocks (700m). Descending gradually, you will reach first the sanctuary of San Felice all’acqua (580m), with its miraculous spring, and then continue in the woods down and up again to the sanctuary of La Foresta (510m). A downhill walk will take you finally to Rieti (405m).
24 Rieti to Poggio San Lorenzo - 22km
6h15 | +556m / -473m
You will start your journey on the St Francis Way from St Maria Assunta Cathedral: leave the city by crossing the River Velino and heading south into a narrow valley. You will pass by Fonte Cottorella, the ancient springs of curative waters, and then follow a footpath to Kartodromo della Mola, near San Giovanni Reatino (425m). Continue upstream by the generally dry Torrente Ariana passing a Roman bridge, Ponte del Sambuco (480m), at the top of the valley. The path will now climbs steadily, up to an asphalt road and further up to Osteria di Colonnetta (640m), then descending into a deep valley over the ancient Via Quinzia and up again towards the outskirts of Torricella Sabina and the convent of Collina del Sacro Cuore (610m). On your last stretch, you will walk along peaceful woods, olive groves and a few scattered houses, following a country road leading to Poggio San Lorenzo (490m).
25 Poggio San Lorenzo to Ponticelli - 20km
5h45 | +615m / -755m
From Ponticelli, you will continue your St Francis Way along olive groves, with your path winding its way up and down the pretty hills of the Sabina. You have many interesting sights along the way today: Monteleone Sabino, the archaeological area of Trebula Mutuesca, the Romanic church of Santa Vittoria and Poggio Moiano (470m) follow one another at short intervals. After a flat stretch in open country, your path reaches the T-junction of Strada del Brecciaro: one branch leads to Rome via Farfa Abbey; you will follow the other branch, over the rural hamlets of Santo Paolo Alto above and Santo Paolo Basso below, with sweeping views of Scandriglia and the mountains of Parco dei Monti Lucretili. You will continue your walking day amid olive groves to reach the little village of Ponticelli (330m), your stop for the night.
26 Ponticelli to Montelibretti - 13km
3h | +297m / -323m
Today you will begin by walking over yet another hill covered with olive groves, with Orsini Castle overlooking the area between here and the Tiber Valley from the mountains above. You will then continue down again to Osteria di Ponticelli (240m) and, crossing into the province of Rome, up to Pitirolo (310m), both no more than a few houses, then down to a full size village, Acquaviva di Nerola (210m); then further down then uphill again to the town of Montelibretti (220m).
27 Montelibretti to Monterotondo - 16km
3h | +594m / -646m
From Montelibretti, you will now have full sight of the vast plane of the Tiber Valley, north of Rome. Across the lush countryside, you will reach the ancient Via Nomentana at Tre Ponti (a few scattered farms) and the little lake of La Muraccia and follow it down to its crossing with Strada della Neve (90m), in the municipality of Palombara Sabina. The landscape of the St Francis Way has now opened up into a wide area of low hills and vast fields, leaving the last layers of mountains behind. Over a quiet country road you will get to the hamlet of Grotta Marozza (100m) and, past the motorway, to the city of Monterotondo (150m) and its Duomo della Maddalena.
28 Monterotondo to Monte Sacro - 18km
6h45 | +443m / -677m
From Monterotondo and over yet another hill, you will get down to sleepy Valle Ricca (50m), entering the municipality of Rome. Across the olive groves, fields and low hills of the protected area of Parco della Marcigliana you will be reaching the outskirts of the ‘Eternal City’, in the semi-rural borough of Cinquina. You are now following footpaths, along the low-traffic road Via di Tor San Giovanni, soon merging with Via della Bufalotta and, past the external ring-road (Grande Raccordo Anulare), into more densely populated areas in the area between popular Casal Boccone (45m) and elegant Montesacro.
29 Monte Sacro to St Peter’s Basilica - 15km
5h | +241m / -235m
Today is your last walking day on the St Francis Way. From Via della Bufalotta you will continue over Viale Adriatico, down to Piazza Sempione and across the bridge over the Aniene River, that you will follow downstream, avoiding the city traffic on a pedestrian/cycling path. The path continues across Via Salaria, by the Great Mosque, the Auditorium and the Olympic Village, to reach Ponte Milvio. You will then cross to the other side of the Tiber River and follow another pedestrian/cycling path along its banks, passing under several bridges and enjoying an unusual view, down to the statue-lined Ponte Sant’Angelo. Upstairs to Castel Sant’Angelo and down Via della Conciliazione into the arms of the Bernini’s colonnade, you have reached your destination, St Peter’s Basilica!
No city in the world can rival the history, architecture and general grandeur of the Eternal City. Founded 2700 years ago, Rome long reigned as Caput Mundi, or Capital of the World. Monumental buildings like the Colosseum are reminiscent of the era when emperors like Nero and Trajan ruled the Roman empire. But today’s Rome also owes much of its beauty to the Renaissance period when new squares like Campidoglio were created and new impressive structures built, including the world’s largest church: the Saint Peter’s Basilica. Ask the FrancigenaWays.com team if you would like to book additional nights in Rome to explore this magnificent city.