The North Western way – a wonderful walk in the Franciscan lands
From the forested Apennine ridges where the hermitage of La Verna is perched we will follow the footpaths of Francis through the mountains between the Arno river and the of the Upper Tiber Valley as Dante used to say “Intra Tevero et Arno” visiting medieval villages such as Anghiari (the town of the “Battle of Anghiari”) the town of Arezzo boasting its beautiful piazzas and palazzi then by following the ridges to the medieval town of Castiglion Fiorentino in the hilltops facing the Chiana Valley. The walk will then follow passing the stunning Le Celle Hermitage, another Franciscan site and Cortona the town of “Under the Tuscan Sun” a wonderful Etruscan and Medieval town. The next day you will get to the ridges facing the Lake Trasimene in Umbria through the Roman roads that were used by Hannibal the Carthaginian in order to ambush the Roman Legions (217 b.C.) in the plains next to the lake. We will walk in the hills facing the lake passing through the hilltop villages and farmlands to the main town of Umbria region, Perugia a fascinating Etruscan and Medieval town that was the big counterpart of Assisi ( Francis was imprisoned here), a big cultural center with 2 Universities and a wonderful historic center then descending the Tiber valley and entering the Valle Umbra towards Mt Subasio where you will find Assisi.
|Duration||11 Days/ 10 Nights|
|The Tour starts in
The Tour ends in
|La Verna (AR)
|Tour Type||Walking tour|
|Ready for Rental
|GPS units ( batteries not included), walking poles
|15-27 km/day, daily distance and elevation gain may be revised and subject to change depending on the accommodation availability, weather conditions, paths and roads conditions
Footpaths, gravel road & mule tracks, some asphalt roads
|Minimum Age Limit||18 (Younger Guests Must be Accompanied by Relatives)|
|Skill Levels Accommodated||Advanced|
|Self Guided||It means you will be walking on your own, we do provide assistance and support with our local guides or drivers in case of help.|
|Accommodations||A mixture of very nice two and three-star hotels/B&Bs, Rifugios and Agriturismo all comfortably located within the historical center. Most of them are family run. Accommodation upgrades are available.|
|Meals||2 dinners and 10 breakfasts are included.|
|About Beverages||Not Included|
|Average Price Per Person
(Rates shown are in Euros. Rates and terms are subject to change without notice.)
|Option A – With Luggage Transfer
–,00 € per person in double room occupancy. (minimum two participants)
Single supplement: –,00 €GPS Rental Fee: 25 € per unit ( batteries not included – works with 2x AA)Accommodation Upgrade: Available
|Before you come on the holiday we recommend you to subscribe an adequate travel insurance, which must include cover for baggage, medical expenses and the cost of repatriation should you become too ill to continue, including helicopter rescue and air ambulance.|
Map currently being updated …
Day 1: BENVENUTI! Arrival at Arezzo train station transfer to Chiusi della Verna
Today you will be met by our representative that will accompany you to the town of Chiusi della Verna (1h drive) just below La Verna Sanctuary. This land was given to St. Francis in 1213 by a pious nobleman, Count Orlando, and the Saint at once built some mud huts here for a select group of his followers. He found that La Verna was a perfect spot for meditation.
Special Event of the Day: The visit to the Monastery (1.2km from the town), that can be done also on the next day and the walk around it in the beech tree forest.
Day 2: Chiusi della Verna – Alpe di Catenaia 20.6km +662m
Highlights of the Day: Views of the forested Apennine mountains, La Verna Sanctuary, the views of the Tiber valley.
Walk Details: The level is moderate –after having descended from the town of Chiusi you start climbing the Alpe di Catenaia, in the firsts 300 m there will be some steep section, after 6 km you will pass in front of the Eremo della Casella hermitage almost at the end of the long ascent, another place attended by the saint. The walk continues in a beautiful dirt track under the trees’ canopy with stunning views of the valleys, from 15 km you start descending gradually down towards the Tiber valley. We are going to stay in a farm holiday house in the countryside.
Day 3: Alpe di Catenaia – Anghiari 10.3km +121m (+ 1 longer alternative walk)
Highlights of the Day: Views of the countryside, the Apeninne mountains, and the beautiful medieval village of Anghiari.
Walk Details: The level is easy – Exit the farm house and descend towards the valley until you reach a wide gravel road that will take you in a conifer tree wood that follows the ridge until the village of Anghiari, the Last 5 km will be on a small asphalt road. Anghiari is a small medieval village perched on the western hills of the Upper Tiber Valley on a corner/balcony ( hence its ancient name Castrum Angulari), you will love exploring it.
Day 4 : Anghiari – Arezzo 25.2km +692m
Highlights of the Day: the Alpe di Poti views, the old town of Arezzo.
Walk Details: Moderate – difficult day. Leave the town going west descending to the Sovara valley and then starting a long ascent to the Alpe di Poti through some wide gravel roads, on your way you may stop to explore the tiny village of Toppole, make a detour to visit a goat farm or to see a very nice parish church ( Badia San Veriano) once at 15 km you will start descending to the valley of Arezzo enjoying a breathtaking 360° view from the Apennine ridges to La Verna, Mt Amiata and the Chiana valley.
Day 5: Arezzo – Castiglion Fiorentino 21.1km +765m
Highlights of the Day: the Chiana valley views, the town of Castiglion Fiorentino, not so touristy and authentic small village.
Walk Details: Moderate – difficult, you will start exiting the old town and its outskirts then at 2.5 km you will take a path that will lead you to the hills south of the town crossing Mt Lignano area and then descending towards the Chiana valley passing through olive groves and woods, very scenic descent, with the vista of the town of Castiglion Fiorentino and the Montecchio Castle.
Day 6: Castiglion Fiorentino – Cortona 17.9km +696m
Highlights of the Day: the Chiana valley views, the Celle Hermitage, the town of Cortona, specially the upper part.
Walk Details: moderate walk, you will start by descending down the Castiglioni hilltop to the plains and then at 2.4km you will start a gradual ascent on the slopes of Alta Sant’Egidio the mountain of Cortona for 8 km, once at the top of the climb the path will give you some wonderful sights of the valley then it will start do descend down to the picturesque hermitage of le Celle (14.5km), another site bound to Francis. From there you will get closer to Cortona and enter the town from the upper gate at 17.4 km ( Porta Montanina) into a “different” quiter and peaceful part of Cortona, very rarely attended by tourist until you get to the real “town’s living room” the main piazza of the town where the walk ends.
Day 7: Cortona – Valle del Niccone 20.7km +686m
Highlights of the Day: The Roman road, views of Lake Trasimene and Chiana valley, the ruins of Pierle Castle.
Walk Details: Moderate walk – hilly terrain, from the main road of Cortona we will enter in the Parterre Gardens and walk to the house that inspired Under the Tuscan Sun novel until the intersection with the mountain pass road (3km) then we will take some gravel and dirt roads that will bring us to the ridges of the pre-Apennine mountains (8km), we will walk along the asphalt road for 3 km then we will be then on the ancient cobble stone roman road ( some parts are still visible) that was once used by Hannibal the Carthaginian for 8 km, after that we will descend down to the ruins of the Pierle Castle, these are the ruins of a Tuscan Castle bordering with Umbria as part of the Church State, the entire valley is in fact a former border between two nations ( until the 19th c.) for this reason there are castles and former custom houses and roads in both sides.
Day 8: Valle del Niccone – Castel Rigone 20.8km +663m
Highlights of the Day: Pre-Apennine views, Lake Trasimene views.
Walk Details: Moderate walk – we will start with a gradual ascent, for 1 km in an asphalt road then taking a mule-track that runs parallel to that until the pass (4km) form there we will take a gravel road that soon becomes a dirt road that will take us on the ridges and the Gosparini pass with a wonderful view of the Trasimene (6.5km). From there we will take panoramic gravel road that very gradually will descend down until the outskirts of Passignano sul Trasimeno (13km) on small hills until once to Trecine (20km)will climb to the village of Castel Rigone, our destination for the day.
Day 9: Castel Rigone – Perugia 24.9 km +631m
Highlights of the Day: the town of Perugia and its acropolis
Walk Details: Moderate walk. From Castel Rigone we will start a gradual and long decent of 7 km mostly on gravel roads then we will ascend to Caligiana hilltop mostly on a evergreen oak wood for 2 km and then descend for 5 km to the plains below the village of Mantignana from then we will climb the Malbe Mt almost entirely covered by evergreen oak woods whose summit is at 19km then to gradually descend to the modern outskirts of Perugia where the Mini-Metro Station is. The walk as described ends here but as an option you have an additional gpx track of 4km to the old town – Piazza Italia.
Day 10: Perugia – Assisi 25.7km +295m
Highlights of the Day: The town of Assisi, the Upper and Lower Basilica, the tomb.
Walk Details: Easy – moderate walk mostly in the flatlands of the Tiber river and Umbra Valley. The initial km will be of a long descent on the modern outskirts of Perugia (Ponte San Giovanni 7km) then you will take a short section of footpath along the Tiber river of 2 km and some minor gravel and asphalt roads that will take you to Bastia Umbra (19km) from there you will then reach Santa Maria degli Angeli with its huge Basilica – and more importantly the tiny Porziuncola church that Francis himself restored and where he died- from the Basilica you will walk the red brick road ( Mattonata) up to the town of Assisi and the Upper and Lower Basilica.
Day 11: Assisi. Ciao Ciao!
End of tour after breakfast. From the nearby Assisi-Santa Maria degli Angeli railway station there are trains available to reach Rome or Firenze
10 Nights in Excellent Two and Three-Star Hotels/B&Bs (Double Room with Private Bath)
Route Notes and Itineraries, Sightseeing Opportunities, Restaurant and Shopping Suggestions
This tour is not necessarily corresponding 100% with the Franciscan pilgrimage route, it is revised and we think we made it better way for walkers, the reality is that Francis has followed various routes in his journeys to La Verna and back to Assisi.
This is a self-guided tour that offers total freedom of dates – you can choose whatever dates you wish. Small parties of two persons up to large groups can be accommodated.