The Franciscan walking trials
In the heart of the beautiful green Umbria lies the medieval town of Assisi, where St. Francis was born. The walks of this tour, along the trails of Saint Francis, will take you through exciting colourful landscapes with unique views, small hamlets and villages, past churches, hermitages and monasteries. It are all places, which preserve the memory of the beloved Saint Francis, patron saint of Italy. This tour largely follows the two well-known Franciscan walking trails: the ‘Sentiero Franciscano’, which connects Nocera Umbra with Assisi, and the ‘Sentiero della Pace’ between Assisi and Gubbio.
This tour starts in the medieval town of Assisi, the pilgrims’ town built against the slopes of Mount Subasio. The impressive town, where many monuments have been erected in honour of Saint Francis and Clare, overlooks the green, fertile Valle Umbra. In Assisi, you could take an extra day and make a walk passing the hermitage ‘Eremo delle Carceri’, built on 830m in the woods of Mount Subasio. It was a place where Francis and his companions retreated themselves for meditation. Continue passing the most important monuments of the old town centre of Assisi, like the Basilica of Saint Francis.
The next town you visit is Spello, also a medieval town, but it has also remains dating back to Roman times. In Nocera Umbra you pick up the Franciscan trail, which crosses the natural park of Mount Subasio. The last three days you walk along the Peace Path. This trail will bring you through the silence of unspoiled nature to another Umbrian highlight, the town of Gubbio. In this lovely medieval town of Saint Ubaldo and Saint Francis, who tamed here the Wolf, ends this unforgettable walking tour.
The daily program of the 8-day tour
The start of this cycle tour is in Assisi. If you arrive early you could already visit this amazing medieval town. At the end of the afternoon, you have a briefing and will have the opportunity to discuss your holiday.
Overnight stay in **, *** hotel or Residence d’epoca
Today’s walk will take you first to Spello and then to the village of Vescia. The route follows the slopes of Mount Subasio. This beautiful walk passes along olive groves with astounding views of the valley.
Spello is built on the slopes of Mount Subasio. This little town has Roman origins, as several features remind us of including the porta Venere and porta Consolare town gates and the remains of a Roman theatre outside the town walls. Beautiful are also the colourful frescoes in the Baglioni chapel by Pinturicchio in the church S.Maria Maggiore and the museum the mosaics of a Roman villa. After your visit to Spello you continue your walk to your B&B in Vescia.
Walking time: 6 hours; Distance: 20 km / 12,4 miles; Ascent/Descent: + 460m – 573m
This walk through the hills of the Topino river valley, will take you through characteristic Umbrian villages like Capodacqua and past the ruins of castles and towers to Nocera Umbra. In the summer of 1226. St. Francis became very ill on one of his travels and had to be brought back urgently to Assisi. On the way back, he and his fellow travellers stayed for the night in the Franciscan monastery of Nocera. This monastery was just outside the town gate, where the ‘Giardino delle Acque’ is now to be found. The second Franciscan monastery has been preserved and is now a small museum. Your overnight stay will be in a hotel in the town centre.
Walking time: 6,5 hours; Distance: 23 km / 14,3 miles; Ascent/Descent: + 729m – 506m
Today’s route follows the Franciscan walking path ‘Sentiero Franciscano’, which reminds us of the last journey of St. Francis (September 1226). During this journey Francis became very ill and had to be brought back to Assisi, accompanied by a group of horsemen. Nowadays this last journey is still every year remembered with the ‘Cavalcata di Satriano’, when horsemen from all over Umbria, dressed in medieval clothes, ride the same trail as the horsemen of 1226. This route crosses the natural Park of Monte Subasio and passes the remains of the castle Rocca di Postignano, the little chapel of Satriano, where St. Francis had an overnight stay on his last journey, and the restored medieval bridge Ponte Marchetto, which crosses a mini-canyon. Your overnight stay will be on a holiday farm near Assisi (5 km).
Walking time: 5h 35; Distance: 17,3 km / 10,8 miles; Ascent/Descent: + 744m – 659m
The Franciscan walking trail, route 51, continues until Assisi. You enter the town through the Porta Cappuccini town gates, cross the old town centre and you will leave it through the Porta S.Francesco gates. You will walk then along the Franciscan route ‘Sentiero della Pace’, which connects Assisi with Gubbio and reminds us of the journeys of St. Francis between these two towns. This beautiful route, with splendid views of Assisi and marvellous panoramas of the surrounding valleys and mountains, ends in the town of Valfabbrica.
Walking time: 5h 20; Distance: 18 km / 11,2 miles; Ascent/Descent: + 608m – 844m
Today’s walk will bring you to the remains of the castle of Biscina. This section passes through the hills along the valley of the river Chiascio. It will take you past the Benedictine church of Barcaccia, the ruins of the castle and the monastery of Coccorano You will stay the night at a holiday farm at 100 m. from the castle.
Walking time: 4h 30; Distance: 17 km / 10,6 miles; Ascent/Descent: + 560m – 340m
The last stage of the ‘Sentiero della Pace’ and of this walking tour takes you to Gubbio, a town built on the slopes of Monte Ingino. You will pass the church of Caprignone and the hermitage of S.Pietro in Vigneto. You descend into the valley of Gubbio. This town is closely linked with the life of St. Francis, who came here as a beggar. In this town he found shelter thanks to his friend the textile merchant Spadalunga, who not only gave him a place to sleep but clothes to dress himself. This simple straight dress became the prototype of the Franciscan tunic. The church and monastery of St. Francis is built on the site of Spadalunga’s house. You will stay in a hotel *** near the church of St. Francis.
Walking time: 6h 10; Distance: 22 km / 13,7 miles; Ascent/Descent: + 543m – 595m
After breakfast end of your walk along the Franciscan trails in Umbria.
For those who like challenging walks in rolling hilly terrain. You have to be trained with a good physical condition. This tour is not suitable for children under 14 years. Routes through hilly landscapes and walking in middle mountainous terrain with significant up- and downhill walking. Daily distances are long: between 17 and 23 km. An average of 3 km an hour. You will walk on footpaths, mountain tracks, forest trails and on quiet asphalted country roads.
Average daily distances:
between 17 and 23 km / 10,6 – 14,3 miles
Total km: 117 km / 73 miles.
Daily from April until half of October
2 or more people.
START / FINISH:
Assisi / Gubbio