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ItalianrawFROM ASSISI TO SPOLETO
from assisi to spoleto

FROM ASSISI TO SPOLETO

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Umbria is magic. Once you get into this region you get the feeling you’ve entered another dimension, somewhere in an indefinite time in the past. It’s a window into a different world where daily rhythms are different and more pleasant.

“A good way to explore the region is through a part of the St Francis Way, developed along the path walked by the Saint hundreds of years ago.”

The Path

The St Francis Path runs from Tuscany, then it crosses Umbria and finishes in Rome. It leads through olive groves, stunning romantic valleys, and enchanting small villages during the walk.

A Pilgrimage

The path takes its name from the Saint who lived in Umbria in these valleys: St Francis of Assisi. Therefore the itinerary links together several places that witnessed his life. For the Catholics, particularly those devoted to the Saint, this is a pilgrimage route intended to explore the lands that the “Poor Man” walked through on his travels and feel closer to his preachings. 

Art, Food and peaceful Atmospheres

Much more. On the way, you’ll experience both natural and artistic places. The “Franciscan path” passes through many fascinating medieval towns and villages. Not to mention the food, with the black truffle of Spello, or the red wine of Montefalco. The foodies won’t get bored, I promise.

A tour of Umbria

This itinerary will not only take you to the classic sites of interest but will make you discover places off the beaten path where big coach buses do not go. Starting from Assisi with its wonderful St Francis basilica (that alone would deserve a visit to the city of Assisi), you walk through St Francis wood to small historical cities like Spello, Foligno,  Trevi, Montefalco, Bevagna, and finally Spoleto.

“Forests, vineyards and olive groves, green hills dotted with medieval villages characterize this part of the Way.”

st francis path

Medieval villages characterize this part of the Way:

Walking along the St Francis’ Way is an authentic spiritual journey that satisfies man’s desire to seek the meaning of his existence deep within himself.

A Mystical Experience 
Despite everything, Umbria has remained Francesco’s land, nourished by a spirituality that speaks of love for the small things, respect and gratitude for creation, of generous hospitality to the next man, whoever he may be.
The figure of St Francis, towering over Assisi, accompanies you throughout the journey, speaking to the heart and mind of the traveler.
He silently suggests the possibility of leading your everyday life in total harmony with the world, with man, and with God.
It is precious teaching, the art of living, and the most authentic result of the journey to Assisi.  
A gift that the Umbria of St Francis can give the pilgrim or any person approaching it with an open heart.

Assisi

Assisi is one of the fascinating sites of Italy with, of course, many good reasons. It’s somehow magic and captures the visitors with its peaceful streets filled with flowers, medieval architecture, buildings, churches, and small restaurants. It’s lovely to just walk around and absorb the sensation of having entered an ancient past.

From Assisi, you will walk on the western flank of Mt Subasio through the Sacred Hermitage of the Carceri, an important Franciscan monastery, then continue to the beautiful upper meadows to enjoy the fantastic view of the valleys.

Then you’ll proceed downhill through the olive groves and the Roman foundation town of Spello.

Spello

Spello is built on the slopes of Mount Subasio. This little town has Roman origins witnessed by several features including the 2 town gates, “porta Venere” and “porta Consolare” and the remains of a Roman theatre outside the town walls. 

The village is filled with colored flowers and for the happiness of the foodies, it’s a landmark for truffle lovers. 

It’s a great place to take amazing photos and capture the typical life of a (“yes!”) lazy but joyful ancient village. 

The path continues across the Valle Umbra getting to the hills on the other side of the valley. The walks will continue on this line of hills down to the valley to Bevagna, personally my favorite.

Bevagna

Unlike most Umbrian towns, Bevagna isn’t built on a hilltop but at the confluence of the rivers.

Bevagna is lovely. I love it for its lively atmosphere rich in everything. First, it’s beautiful, the perfect Umbrian village. It offers a lot: since entering the main city gate, the town is filled with little restaurants, bars, little shops, some of which sell cashmere ( yes, this is part of the so-called Cashmere Valley of Italy).

‘Piazza Silvestri’, the Main Square, the heart of this town is the square, with its beautiful fountain and two Romanesque churches and ancient buildings recalls a past that is far away but here seems present.

There are many stunning restaurants, like one I discovered just by walking around, built in a hidden roman Theater. (if you’re curious, check here)

During Roman times, Bevagna was a prosperous town, as it was situated along the busy trade road, the Via Flaminia, which connected Rome with the Adriatic coast. Particularly characteristic are walls of the 13th to 14th century, surrounding most of Bevagna for 2 kilometers.

The foodies will appreciate the tasty Umbrian kitchen: recipes based on simple ingredients, such as extra virgin olive oil and cereals, homemade pasta with meat sauces, black truffle, red wine, and typical desserts such as the “torciglione,” whose recipe is passed down from one generation to the other.

Montefalco

The olive groves soon make way for vineyards.

Montefalco can’t but be my second favorite town across the Franciscan Path as a wine lover.

To reach the town, you have to climb because Montefalco is –predictable- built on a hilltop. The town is also known as the balcony (‘ringhiera’) of Umbria because of its beautiful panorama.

We enter an excellent wine county. The hills surrounding Montefalco are famous for producing excellent wines: Sagrantino and Rosso di Montefalco.

So, do not forget to taste some of the delicious wine in one of the many wine bars. About 150 wine producers are surrounding the village. It’s worth paying a visit and tasting.

umbria sunset

Trevi

The town of Trevi. Included it in the list of the “Most Beautiful Villages” in Italy.

The slopes of the surrounding mountains are covered with evergreen olive groves, and there’s no surprise to discover that this ancient place is known as the “City of Oil.” 

Being one of the most important areas of Umbria for the very high quality of the oil, the visit to the oil mills is strongly recommended. You will thus have the opportunity to witness all the processes of extravirgin olive oil making, from the harvest of the olives, the pressing to the bottling.

An unmissable destination for an out-of-town tour is the Sources of Clitunno, near the village of Campello sul Clitunno: fed by underground springs that come out of rock cracks, they are a true, naturalistic jewel of the area.

The crystal clear water and the dense vegetation of weeping willows give the environment a charming atmosphere.

Spoleto

From the lower hills of the Monti Martani, you will then walk to Spoleto, the charming medieval town.

Spoleto is a pretty hill-town filled with beautiful architecture. It is famous for the Spoleto Festival, which takes place every summer (end of June beginning of July).

Herman Hesse said, “Spoleto is the most beautiful discovery I made in Italy; there is such a wealth of beauty almost unknown, mountains, valleys, oak woods, monasteries, and waterfalls!”.

Spoleto is worth visiting: the cathedral, the castle, a Roman house, Roman theatre, and many museums. But Spoleto is not only art and culture, but also food & wine! The town has some lovely shops with fantastic local products, cozy bars with terraces and excellent restaurants.

st francis way from assisi to spoleto

The meaning of St Francis’ Way

In its adherence to the story of St Francis, the Way is plausible and charming: the landscapes that the pilgrim will see are the same that brought joy to the simple heart of St Francis.

Despite everything, Umbria has remained Francesco’s land, nourished by a spirituality that speaks of love for the small things, respect and gratitude for creation, of generous hospitality to the next man, whoever he may be.

The figure of St Francis, towering over Assisi, accompanies you throughout the journey, speaking to the heart and mind of the traveler. He silently suggests about the possibility of leading your everyday life in total harmony with the world, with man, and with God.

It is a precious teaching, the art of living and the most authentic result of the journey to Assisi.  

A gift that the Umbria of St Francis can give the pilgrim or any person approaching it with an open heart.

Walking along the St Francis’ Way is, therefore, an authentic spiritual journey that satisfies man’s desire to seek the meaning of his own existence deep within himself.

st francis poem
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2 Comments

  • michiganstopsmartmeters com

    An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a friend who had been doing a little homework on this. And he in fact bought me breakfast simply because I discovered it for him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending the time to talk about this matter here on your website.

    • angela

      Thank you for your appreciation and enjoy your meal! Olive Oil is a precious product of this region, its beauty, and its mystic places.

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