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Florence to Rome in the steps of St Francis

Pieve-di-Coccorano-300x225It seems very fitting for people looking to get in touch with nature to re-discover the St Francis Way, walking from Florence to Rome. St. Francis of Assisi was known for his love of nature and the simplicity of life. He was probably the first ever environmentalist!

The St Francis Way, or Way of St Francis of Assisi, is an alternative route of the ancient road between Florence and Rome, passing through Assisi in Umbria and finishing at the Vatican. There are four stages to this walk, each with their own challenges and personal rewards but all of them have one thing in common: amazing scenery.

I am currently walking the second stage of the St Francis Way, following a nine-day trail from Sansepolcro in Tuscany to Assisi in Northern Umbria, or ‘Bella Umbria’ considered to be Italy’s green heart.Citerna-panoramic-SaintFrancisWay-CaminoWays

As we leave Sansepolcro and the mountains of our first stage behind, we really feel welcome by the wide flat landscape of the valley. After a first stage of many climbs, we feel like we are floating through the gentle valley, enjoying the beauty of its surrounding hills dotted with picturesque villages.

We enter ‘Bella’ Umbria near the beautiful medieval walled town of Citerna where we sit to have a rest and enjoy the view. We then walk over a few hills to get to the Franciscan hermitage of Eremo del Buonriposo, before heading down towards Citta’ di Castello, by the river Tiber.

As we head east, we enjoy the peace and serenity of the open landscape, walking along deserted country roads with so few signs of life. This is just pure heaven, save for our sore feet!

We arrive at the village of Pietralunga and it is time for a bit of more climbing. From the woodlands of Monte Spesce, we walk down back to the valley, where we are looking forward to seeing one of the most beautiful towns in Umbria (we are told!): Gubbio.

Also known as the ‘city of stone’, Gubbio is just stunning and also a great place to stop a while, have a well-deserved bite and discover its rich heritage and sights, such as the Roman Theatre, Palazzo dei Consoli and the church of St Francis (our spiritual guiding force for this journey).

Assisi-StFrancis_CaminoWaysIn our final walking stretch takes us from Gubbio to Assisi, where we walk past woodlands and many interesting buildings, abbeys and castles. Valfabbrica will be our last village before Assisi so we feel it is time to stop for a little refreshment and also to reflect on our journey so far.

We leave Valfabbrica and walk downhill, passing olive trees and vineyards, and enjoying the comforting view ahead: our destination for this stage, Assisi.

Assisi has a particular significance from a spiritual point of view, since it is in this village where St Francis was born and where he died. Its main attraction is the impressive 13th century Basilica, built on St Francis tomb. It contains the sacred relics of St Francis, as well as some of the most beautiful frescoes of the Middle Ages.

The town is a gem and living museum with its impressive castle, Roman ruins and subterranean quarter, medieval streets and many churches. No wonder it has been a pilgrimage destination for centuries.

We arrive at the Basilica di San Francesco in Assisi having reached the half-way point of our journey in St Francis steps, amazed by all the natural beauty we have seen so far but excited about what’s still to come…


  1. By Maria

    Hi Andrew, we generally include the Cicerone St Francis Way guidebook with our holiday packs as the most comprehensive guide to this route. I hope this helps. Kind regards.

  2. By Andrew

    Hi there,

    We are undertaking the Florence to Rome walk in May 2019. Is there a map to follow when walking? Regards Andrew

  3. By Monica VanLieshout


  4. By Maria

    Hi Constance, thank you for getting in touch. The St Francis Way is more challenging than the Via Francigena (more mountainous) in general. The whole route is 520kms but you could start at a later stage, for instance San Sepolcro or Citerna (that would be covered in 21 nights). It is a really spectacular trail but we recommended for experienced hikers. Let us know if you would like to get a quote or any additional information about the trails. Kindest regards.

  5. By Constance

    How many km is this trail ? Looking for approx. 400km . Have a total of 21 days to walk . Want to end in Rome.
    How dos this trail differ from Via Francigena?
    Best regards, Constance

  6. By Maria

    Dear Thomas, thank you for getting in contact again, we are delighted to have you back. The St Francis Way is quite a challenging route, our Customer Care team will be in touch directly by email with more details, as requested. Kindest regards.

  7. By Thomas Maloney

    We walked the Fr Camino with you all 2015 and are interested in the Florence to Rome. We would like to see the topography of the walk and your suggested itinerary like we had before. We would add extra rest days to try and absorb the wonders of the walk. Please respond by e-mail. Thank you.

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