The way of Saint Francis – from Spoleto to Rieti
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.
Duration: 7 days
Departure: march - october; during other months tour is available on request
Price: 545,00 eur p.p. in dbl room / 655,00 eur in sgl room / 795,00 eur for solo traveller
- overnights in hotels, B&B or country farms on BB basis
- 2 dinners
- maps and itineraries
- luggage transportation
- transfers as per program
- costs of transportation for getting to Spoleto
- meals not mentioned; supplement for 4 dinners – 110,00 eur
- tourist tax where required – to be paid in cash on spot
- anything not mentioned under “the price includes”
***The itinerary is only indicative, detailed description and any other information will be available at the moment of confirmation.
individual arrival in Spoleto
Your hotel is situated in the historical centre of Spoleto. If you arrive early you can already explore the town. There is a lot to see such as the Duomo with frescoes of Filippo Lippi and Pinturicchio, a roman house, the archaeological museum and the town museum.
Spoleto - Patrico
The serious climbing begins from the Ponte delle Torri. It will take you to Monteluco and then to the pass at Castel di Monte. But before leaving Spoleto you will pass the cathedral with its beautiful frescoes by Filippo Lippi. 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. Inside this monastery are the grotto of St. Francis, now a chapel, and the tiny cells of the monks. To the left of the building is the grotto of Saint Anthony of Padua, which is closed with a gate. 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 your farmhouse with restaurant is located.
Patrico – Monterivoso (Ferentillo)
After breakfast you leave the farmhouse and walk back to Castelmonte to pick up the route. From here you begin the descent into the Valle del Nera. You will walk in the woods and you will pass a village called Sensati, which was abandoned in the 1950s. You will walk through the Nera valley to Ferentillo. The walking will be mainly among the fields and along the river. In Ferentillo you will leave the route to go to your hotel in Monterivoso.
Monterivoso – 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. You will reach the lake of Piediluco where your hotel is waiting for you. 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.
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 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. 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.
You will stay in Poggio Bustone in the old centre of town. In case the B&B is full you will be transported by vehicle to a hotel in Rieti.
Poggio Bustone - Rieti
Today’s walk starts in Poggio Bustone and takes you to Rieti (if your overnight was in Rieti your will be brought by car backo to Poggio Bustone), 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. 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 have a possibility to wander around the streets of this splendid town and enjoy a tasty dinner in one of the many characteristic restaurants. A guided tour of underground Rieti is available for anyone interested. Overnight in hotel.
Departure or continuation along the Via di Roma to Rome