Download the programme of the group tour Assisi-Rome, Assisi-Rieti or Rieti-Rome

 

THE 'WAY OF ST FRANCIS' - 'WAY OF ROME': FROM SPOLETO TO RIETI

a 7 days pilgrimage walking holiday

 

Since medieval times there have been three famous Christian pilgrimage destinations: Jerusalem in the Holy Land, Santiago de Compostella in Spain, and Rome. The ‘Way of St. Francis'(Roman Way) is a section of a pilgrims' route to Rome, a European cultural path which starts in Vienna and ends in Rome, passing many places connected with the life of St. Francis. The route, which also carries the symbol of the keys of St. Peter, finishes in front of St. Peter’s tomb in Rome. Every year many pilgrims and trekkers from all over the world follow this path, passing hermitages, sanctuaries, ancient forests, olive groves and valleys rich in art and history. This walking route begins in Tuscany, at the La Verna monastery, where St. Francis received the signs of the stigmata (wounds of Christ). The route then crosses Umbria from north to south and finishes in Rome, in the region of Lazio. In Umbria, the native area of St. Francis, his presence is particularly strong and everything reminds us of the much-loved saint. A highlight of this tour is of course the lovely town of Assisi, where a section of the Via di Roma begins at the St. Francis tomb in the Basilica di San Francesco, one of the most celebrated sacred spots of Christianity. Assisi enjoys a splendid position on a hillside at the foot of Monte Subasio, overlooking the Valle Umbra and lying between the rivers Chiascio, Topino and Tescio. St. Francis (1181/82 – 1226) was born in Assisi and lived here for most of his life. It is certainly worth inserting an extra day in your itinerary to visit this fascinating town. Leaving Assisi you will walk through the wonderful countryside of Umbria, which St. Francis so loved, and you will pass through medieval towns and villages such as Spello, Foligno, Trevi, Spoleto and Arrone. You enter the region of Lazio and along the approach Rome the landscape becomes ever flatter, but not less exciting. On the last two days you will walk through Rome passing many monuments, which are worth visiting, but the highlight will certainly be the Basilica of St. Peter, the final destination of this walking tour  

 

 

 

 

 

Programme in short:  

Day 1 arrival at Spoleto

Day 2 Spoleto- Patrico

Day 3 Patrico-Ferentillo

Day 4 Ferentillo-Piediluco 

Day 5 Piediluco - Poggio Bustone  

Day 6 Poggio Bustone - Rieti 

Day 7 departure or continue of the Via di San Francesco

 

 

 

Programme:

Day 1

Individual arrival at Spoleto

Spoleto is a proud medieval town, with a beautiful cathedral (il Duomo) and an impressive castle which dominates the town from above. Your *** hotel is situated in the centre of Spoleto.  

 

Day 2

Spoleto - Patrico

Today a short walk, but full of nature. In the morning you have still time to visit Spoleto.The climbing serious climbing begins from the Ponte delle Torri It will take you to Monteluco and then higher still to the pass at Castel di Monte.   But before leaving Spoleto you will pass the cathedral with its beautiful frescoes by Filippo Lippi. It was here that in 1232 Anthony of Padua (or Anthony of Lisbon) was declared a saint by Pope Gregory IX. Also housed here is the letter that Francis wrote to Friar Leo. Continuing uphill, after the castle (the Rocca di Spoleto) and the bridge known as the Ponte delle Torri (13th century) you enter the 'sacred' woods of Monteluco. These woods were recognised as having a mystical atmosphere even in ancient times, and were treated with fear and respect. In the first centuries of Christianity hermits came to these woods and settled here. St. Francis was also attracted by the mysticism of the place and in 1218 the Franciscans built a small sanctuary here. Continue on the 'Sentiero di Pio IX' (the path of Pope Pius IX) which in 1831, before becoming Pope, he used to escape from the pillaged town. Still climbing, you will reach the highest point of today's route at the pass of Castel del Monte, where you will leave the Via di San Francesco to go to the hamlet Patrico, where is your farmhouse B&B with restaurant (1040 a.s.l.)

Distance: 9,7 km; Walking time: 3hrs 45; Difficulty:medium; Ascent / Descent: +704m  -180m

 

Day 3

Patrico - Ferentillo

After breakfast you leave the farmhouse and walk back to Castelmonte to pick up the route. From here you begin the decent into the Valle del Nera. You will be walking in the woods and pass a village called Sensati, which was abandoned in the 1950s. You will walk through the Nera valley to Ferentillo. The walking will be largely among fields and following the river, which winds along finding its own way. In Ferentillo you leave the route to go to your hotel in Monterivoso.

Distance: 21,2 km; Walking time: 6 hours; Difficulty:medium; Ascent / Descent: +120m  -830m

 

Day 4

Ferentillo - Piediluco

Leave Ferentillo and continue to follow the river Nera. Just before the 'Cascate delle Marmore' waterfalls, the path climbs through the woods up to the highest point of the falls, which are artificial and were created during the Roman period. You have enough time to admire the falls from here. Without any more climbing you will reach the lake of Piediluco, where your last night is in a three star hotel. It is said that St. Francis visited Piediluco several times on his journeys to Rome or Rieti. To remember these visits, in 1298 the Franciscans began building a church here, which was completed in 1338. During the 18th and 19th centuries the lake of Piediluco became a popular stop-off on the 'grand-tour', the fashionable Italian journey undertaken by writers and artists from all over Europe. Among the people who have come this way are Goethe, Hesse, Lord Byron and Freud.

Distance: 19,6 km; Walking time: 5 1/2 hours ; Difficulty: medium; Ascent-Descent: +180m  -60m

 

Day 5

Piediluco-Poggio Bustone

After breakfast you will don your backpack for your first walk. Today's route is scattered with places of interest. You will pass Labro, which is evocative, charming and very well-kept. The characteristic village of Morro Reatino still has a beautiful castle gate and the remains of its old medieval town walls and towers. Continue your walk towards Francis's beech: a tree so well-loved that it has itself become a little living sanctuary. The beech tree is famous for its exceptional shape, with branches which are sinuously interwoven creating waves and knots of unusual beauty. It is said that the tree assumed this shape to shelter Saint Francis from a storm which took him by surprise during a solitary retreat. The last stretch takes you on a shortcut downhill on mule tracks to the village of Poggio Bustone. “Good day to you good people!” is how Francis greeted the surprised villagers of Poggio Bustone when he entered the town through the lower gate in 1208. He had come from Assisi and was accompanied by his first companions: Bernardo da Quintavalle, Pietro Cattani, Egidio, Sabatino, Morico, Masseo e Giovanni della Cappella.

Francis slept in a cave in the rocks. Here an angel in the form of a young man appeared to him, reassuring him that his sins would be forgiven: “ Do not torment yourself, oh Francis, for your sins will be forgiven as you have asked God”. Today in this place there is a little church with a small bell tower. The church is known as 'Sacro Speco' (the 'Holy Cave') and was built partly in the 14th and partly in the 17th century. A few narrow steps take you into the upper part and on the right you can clearly see the Cave of Revelations. The sanctuary at Poggio Bustone as we see it today is the result of various stages of building and rebuilding work over the course of the centuries. The oldest, original part is a small convent which dates back to the 13th century. A transfer by vehicle will bring you to Rieti

Distance:18,7 km; Walking time: about 5 ½  hrs; Difficulty: heavy; Ascent-Descent: + 750m  -450m

 

Day 6

Poggio Bustone - Rieti

After breakfast a transfer by vehicle will bring you back to Poggio Bustone and today's walking takes you from here to Rieti, passing through the enchanting Cantalice and the sanctuary of La Foresta. Walking very near Mount Terminillo can leave a lasting impression. The first village you come across is Cantalice, which is perched on a hill with the houses overlapping right up to the highest point where the Torre del Cassero stands proud. This village was the birthplace of San Felice di Cantalice, who is remembered for the miracle of the water source said to have taken place in the spot where the sanctuary of S. Felice dell'Acqua stands today. The next section of the Via di Roma will take you to the sanctuary of La Foresta, which the bishop of Rieti donated to the Friars Minor in 1648. In the summer of 1225, on the invitation of Cardinal Ugolino, Saint Francis stayed here for 50 days to treat his eyes.

After about 5 hours of walking you will arrive in Rieti, your final destination for today. The WWF has created a trail along the river here which allows visitors to admire some of the most beautiful corners of Rieti, surrounded by greenery and in pleasant coolness thanks to the waters of the river Velino. You will be able to wander around the streets of this splendid town and enjoy a tasty dinner in one of the many characteristic local restaurants. A guided tour of underground Rieti is available for anyone interested.

Distance: 17 km; Walking time: 5 hrs 10; Difficulty: medium; Ascent-Descent: + 210m  -625m

 

Day 7

Departure or continuing to Rome  

 

 

 

 

 

 

The package for the tour includes:

  • 6 nights with breakfast in 3 and 4 star hotels and holiday farms

  • 2 dinners

  • clients assistance 

  • luggage transportation

  • descriptions in English 

  • tour information in English

  • all transfer like mentioned in the programme

 

 

 

Period

daily from 1st April till the beginning of November. (In other months only on request).  

Level 3

The daily itineraries pass through moderately mountainous country and hill terrain. On some days the amount of ascent and descent is quite considerable. Daily walking distances are between 15 and 28 km (with an average of 3 – 4 hours walking a day). This route requires a certain amount of experience and familiarity with mountain terrain. A good level of fitness for walking is necessary.

Price p.p. 2017

in a double room    € 565,00

In a single room     € 675,00

travelling alone € 800,00

half board supplement (4 diners)  € 80,00
supplement Spoleto festival (23/06-09/07) €  16,00

On request

extra nights, discount without luggage transportation, tracks voor gps (for free)

                              

      

 

Are you interested in this tour: please ask us the detailed programme in pdf !

See also: La Verna-Città di Castello; Città di Castello -AssisiAssisi- SpoletoRieti-Roma