The Way of St. Francis Pilgrimage Tour- SFP
Number of Days: 12
The Way of St. Francis – also called Camino di Francesco or Via Francigena di San Francesco, is a walking Pilgrimage which is enthused by Saint Francis of Assisi (Co-patron of Italy, founder of the Seraphic Order). St Francis was a spiritual trailblazer for nature and environmentalists; known for his attitude towards nature. The Way of St. Francis follows an early Roman road between Florence and Rome. Follow in the footsteps of St. Francis through the amazing countryside, and pass by significant Franciscan locations such as Assisi in Umbria. The Cammino di Francesco ends at Rome and the Vatican City. This route has been followed by numerous pilgrims who have been inspired by the life that St Francis lived and encouraged.
Tours commences and concludes in Rome.
Day 1:RomeDay 2:Rome - La Verna / Sansepolcro
Upon arrival in Rome collect your luggage and continue to the arrival’s hall to meet your tour guide and/or driver and transfer to your hotel in Rome for overnight and Wecome Dinner (included).D
After breakfast this morning we will drive to La Verna/Sansepolcro (approximately four hours). Following check-in your group will enjoy the convent of La Verna. This is the place where St. Francis, over the years, has been seven times and the last time in 1224 where he received the stigmata. Here you will be able to visit the Chapel of the Stigmata, the Basilica and the Chapel of Saint Mary of the Angels. You can also admire the beautiful artworks of Andrea della Robbia. Then to our hotel for dinner and overnight.B,D Day 3:La Verna - Pieve Santo Stefano(Walking day 9.4 mile / 15 km) Today is the day that your walking pilgrimage to Assisi officially begins! Following breakfast, your group will venture through the mountains of Tuscany. With the guidance of Our Lord, and through the spirit of St. Francis, you will become an authentic pilgrim by journeying along the physical road, as well as, the spiritual one. Your first official day of walking culminates in Pieve Santo Stefano. Pieve is already mentioned in a document from 723, where we read that a gentleman of Città di Castello donated a monastery to the Benedictine monks. In 1589, a supernatural event brought Pieve into the limelight: hordes of angels bearing burning torches were seen heading towards a sacred image painted in the wall of a niche along the road leading to Sansepolcro. There you can find, still nowadays, the Sanctuary of the Madonna dei Lumi (Virgin of the lights). In the parish church, dating from 1200. Admire a beautiful glazed terracotta altar front by Andrea della Robbia. Dinner and overnight in La Verna or Sansepolcro.B,D
Day 4:Pieve Santo Stefano - Sansepolcro(Walking day, 11.2 mile / 18 km) This morning, you will enjoy breakfast at your hotel and journey from Pieve Santo Stefano, alongside the river Tiber (yes the same that flows through Rome!) to Sansepolcro. This town owes its name and its foundation to two pilgrims. Arcano and Egidio, a Greek and a Spaniard, returning from Jerusalem and bringing some precious relics with them, stopped a locality in the Tiber Valley and spent the night near a spring in the walnut-tree wood. During the night, Arcano had a vision following which he stayed to found a town in honor of the Holy Sepulcher of Christ. On the site of the first chapel, around the year 1000, a church was built and dedicated to St. John the Apostle, but ever since it has been known by all as Santo Sepolcro, the Holy Sepulcher. Conserved inside the cathedral of Sansepolcro, is a valuable representation of Christ on the Cross in priestly and royal attire. Tradition has it that it was sculpted by Nicodemo with divine inspiration. The image now preserved in Sansepolcro is a copy (from the 12th century) of the original, which had been damaged by time. This image has always been venerated as an acheiropoieta image (one not made by human hand!) Dinner and overnight Sansepolcro or Citta di Castello.B,D
Day 5Sansepolcro - Citerna(Walking day, 12.4 mile / 20 km) Breakfast will be served at your hotel. Your pilgrimage continues winding through the lowland crossing the Tiber Valley. Today we are entering Umbria! The walk will lead your group through the fields of the valley up to the gates and into Citerna. Citerna is a small medieval town founded by the Etruscans. It conserves the fortress and the medieval walls that completely surround it, with a covered communication trench that goes along for almost their whole length. According to tradition, when St. Francis stayed here, he blessed the hill, calling it “the sacred mountain”. The church of St. Francis and that of St. Michael the Archangel, which conserves a beautiful panel by Pomarancio, are well worth a visit. Dinner and overnight in Citta di Castello
Day 6:Citerna - Citta di Castello(Walking day, 12.4 mile / 20 km) Today you will walk across the hills on the right hand side of the Tiber valley to reach Città di Castello. The town lays on the left bank of the Tiber and was founded by the Umbri, then became a Roman municipium. In the 1st century AD Pliny the Younger lived there in a villa in the suburbs. In the 12th century it became a free municipality with the name Civitas Castelli. Subjugated by Florence and then by Perugia, in 1400 it came under the rule of the noble Vitelli family, who embellished the town with churches and palaces. With the installation of Cesare Borgia, it came under the power of the Papacy until the Unity of Italy. It is still surrounded by a mighty town wall dating back to 1500. Of great interest is the municipal art gallery, with masterpieces by Raphael, Luca Signorelli, Giovanni and Andrea della Robbia, Pomarancio and Ghirlandaio. Then enjoy dinner and an overnight in Citta di Castello.B,D
Day 7:Citta di Castello - Pietralunga(Walking day, 17.4 mile / 28 km) This morning see one of the most famous ex tobacco curing plant of Italy. During the 1950s this area became very important for Italian tobacco production. Today you will be leaving the Tiber valley, the road climbs amid green, silent hills and winds along in a succession of curves that offer ever new views. Here Umbria is at its best! At the end of this daily walk, your group will reach the small town of Pietralunga, founded by local Umbri populations. Numerous traces of villas and aqueducts remain from the Roman period. The growth in Christianity is associated with the figure of St. Crescenziano, to whom tradition attributes the killing of a dragon. The remains of St. Crescenziano are now buried in Urbino cathedral, of which the saint is the patron. Pietralunga retains the appearance of a medieval town, encircled by walls and clustered around the Lombard fortress from the 8th century, the mighty remains of which can be admired in the piazza. Dinner and overnight in Gubbio.B,D
Day 8:Pietralunga - Monteleto(Walking day, 9.4 mile / 15 km) You are now well into the second half of your pilgrimage. After leaving Pietralunga your group will reach the locality of St. Benedict, where the abbey of St. Benedict is. Inside the abbey was a community of Benedictine monks, there is a memorial stone confirming the popular belief that St. Francis stopped here on his way to La Verna. The panorama you will enjoy is truly magnificent! Upon arrival to Monteleto, your group will be transferred to the enchanted Gubbio. In the morning listen to the bells ring - there are many, each with its own tune. Gubbio seems to be painted on the hill. Backdrops against which towers and houses stand out, all embraced by walls. Gubbio is the town where St. Francis, having compassion on the men of the city, was minded to go forth and meet a very great wolf, terrible and fierce, who afflicted the town. During the famous meeting of St. Francis with the wolf, while the latter was waiting with an open mouth, St. Francis advanced towards him and made over him the sign of the most Holy Cross. Scarcely had St. Francis made the sign of the cross than the wolf closed his mouth and laid himself down at the feet of St. Francis. After a visit of the town enjoy dinner and an overnight in Gubbio.B,D
Day 9:Gubbio - Biscina(Walking day, 17.4 mile / 28 km) Your journey is almost over as you will follow the “Franciscan Path of Peace” a praiseworthy initiative created for the 2000 Jubilee that goes over Francis’ stages from Gubbio to Assisi. Your group will cross Gubbio valley and after admiring a last postcard view of the beautiful Gubbio, will immerge in the Umbrian hills. At the summit of the last hill for the day, in the proximity of the River Chiasco, is the Biscina Castle. The construction date of the fortress is not known, but it is certain that it existed at the end of the 10th century. It is an irregular structure that envelops the inner courtyard and is open to the east, emerging above smaller volumes such as the church and, beyond, the valley below. Conserved in the northern elevation of the castle is one of the towers. Dinner and overnight in Gubbio.B,D
Day 10:Valfabbrica - Assisi(Walking day, 8 mile / 13 km) Today, you culminate the walking portion of your journey! The history of Valfabbrica is associated with that of the Benedictine monastery of Santa Maria In Vado Fabbricae. The ancient abbey, dated from the year 820, stands near the River Chiasco. In the Middle Ages an alliance with Assisi brought prosperity to the abbey and the castle, but in the early 13th century clashes with the Perugian feudal lords led to the destruction of the town by Perugia. From Valfabbrica, climbing through a dense thicket you will reach the crest of the hill. From here, for the first time, you can clearly see Mount Subasio above Assisi. As Assisi gets ever closer, to the right of Mount Subasio you can make out the bell tower of the Upper Basilica. A last steep slope and you finally enter Assisi through St. James gate (this is the gate out of which pilgrims going to Santiago of Compostela would walk). Descending along a narrow alley you will reach the square in front of the Upper Basilica of St. Francis. There, beneath the two great churches, in a shrine inside a pillar, lies St. Francis, the companion of our pilgrimage. Dinner and overnight in Assisi.B,D
Day 11:AssisiAfter breakfast we tour the hometown of St. Francis. He is the “Patron Saint of Animals and the Environment.” Additionally, he was responsible for founding the Franciscan Order, and the inspiration for our Holy Father, Pope Francis, who chose his name in admiration of the Saint of Nature, and Servant to the Poor. Known for being a humble man himself, Pope Francis spent most of his life denying the luxuries of life. He preferred to live in simplicity and humility, just as St. Francis did. As your group visits the birthplace of St. Francis, you will be captivated as the atmosphere hasn’t changed since St. Francis began his ministry, in the early 13th-century. During the tour, your group has the opportunity to visit the tomb of St. Francis at his Basilica and to view frescoes depicting his life and some of the saint’s possessions. We continue to St. Mary of the Angels Basilica where St. Francis spent most of life. It is made up of two structures; both of which you will visit. The Porziuncola is where St. Francis founded his order of the Friar Minor (Franciscans), and the Capella del Transito, which is the place of St. Francis’ death. During this visit take the opportunity to visit the beautiful Rose Garden where St. Francis and other friars lived, as well as the cave where the Saint prayed. After visiting this beautiful Basilica, you have free time. The last stop on your tour is the Church that honours St. Clare, the foundress of the Poor Clare Sisters. She followed the teachings of St. Francis closely by also living a life of poverty and humility. Lastly we transfer to the hotel and free time to relax, walk or shop before our farewell dinner (included) and overnight.B,D
Day 12:RomeAfter an early breakfast transfer to the Rome Fiumicino airport for onward travel.B
ENQUIRE ABOUT OUR OPTIONAL EXTENSION TOURS:1:Santiago de Compostela pilgrims route
2:Europe coach tour 12 and 22 day tours.
3:Italy coach tour – South including Pompeii, Naples, capri, Sorrento, Amali Coast.
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5:Italy coach tour - North including Rome, The Vatican, Tuscany, Florence and Venice
Centrally located hotels: 1 night: Eurostar International Palace, Rome, 2 nights: La Verna Sanctuary, La Verna, 3 nights: Hotel Tiferno or Hotel Park Ge. Al, Citta di Castello, 3 night : Hotel Gattapone or Hotel Villa Montegranelli, Gubbio, 2 night : Hotel Dal Moro or Hotel Dei Priori, Assisi or similar.
Breakfast & Dinner daily. Wine with dinners.
Meals as per final itinerary: B = Continental or Israeli breakfast, L = Picnic lunches, D = Welcome, farewell and other dinners as specified.
Transportation by air-conditioned motor coach..
Assistance of Christian guide and Tour Chaplain.
Transfers as per itinerary.
Masses and spiritual activities..
Sightseeing and admissions fees as per itinerary.
Luggage handling (1 piece per person).
- From $5595 per person, twin share. Single supplement price on application