The Way of Francis: A Spiritual Journey through Tuscany

The Way of Francis is a pilgrimage route that connects the most significant places in the life of St. Francis of Assisi, passing through Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio. This itinerary retraces the stages that shaped the Franciscan experience, offering a journey of the spirit immersed in landscapes rich in memory, words and people.

The Saint Francis Walk can be approached in different ways (on foot, by bike, on horseback) and offers various routes with different levels of difficulty (easy, medium or challenging). The final destination of this spiritual journey is the Umbrian city of Assisi, birthplace of the saint. Pilgrims can choose to start from the north, from the Verna Shrine, or from the south, from Rome, the Eternal City.

The Tuscan Tract of the Saint Francis Walk

The Tuscan section of the Saint Francis Walk is particularly fascinating, linking Florence with the Sanctuary of La Verna. This route begins at the Basilica of Santa Croce, one of the most important Franciscan basilicas in Italy, and leads pilgrims through evocative and historic landscapes.

Southern Route: Vallombrosa and Poppi

The southern route of the Saint Francis Walk leads pilgrims from Florence to La Verna, following the left bank of the Arno River. This route includes six stages, with a total length of 90.90 km, and includes hiking and sightseeing stages. The main stages are:

  1. Florence – Rignano sull’Arno
  2. Rignano sull’Arno – Vallombrosa Abbey
  3. Abbey of Vallombrosa – Montemignaio
  4. Montemignaio – Poppi
  5. Poppi – Sanctuary of Santa Maria del Sasso (Bibbiena)

Along this route, pilgrims encounter places of great historical and spiritual interest. These include the Spedale del Bigallo in Bagno a Ripoli, an example of a medieval hospital dedicated to sheltering the poor and pilgrims; the monumental Abbey of Vallombrosa, founded in the 11th century by St. John Gualbert; Castel Leone and the Oratory of Santa Maria delle Calle in Montemignaio; and the solemn Castle of the Conti Guidi and the Abbey of San Fedele in Poppi.

The Saint Francis Walk offers not only a spiritual journey, but also the opportunity to immerse oneself in the history and beauty of the Tuscan landscapes. This route invites pilgrims to reflect and connect with nature and history in a soul- and heart-enriching experience.

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