The Franciscan Way of the Marca develops along 167 km, and it passes through two regions, Umbria and the Marche, and 17 cities. Walking across different landscapes, the Franciscan Way of the Marca offers a unique selection of natural , architectural and spiritual treasures. This will grant a very special time travel to the pilgrim. The journey comprehends the pre -Romanic cultures of the Piceni and Umbrians along with the Roman ruins of Assisi, Spello, Foligno, Plestia and Ascoli Piceno, it goes from the Carolingian and Lombard wonders to the well-preserved medieval villages , and from the splendor of the Renaissance to those of the Baroque. Of course in this trip we also have many country churches, hermitages and the noble treasures that we can find in Assisi , Spello , Foligno and Ascoli Piceno . Speaking about natural panoramas, the Way touches four natural parks : the Mount Subasio‘s one, the Altolina‘s one , the Colfiorito‘s one and the Sibillini Mountains National Park. The path passes by water sources, rivers and waterfalls, but also by swamps, highlands and woods, and even by wild ravines and panoramic ridges that often offer glimpses of the Adriatic Sea, and finally by gentle man-made hills to rugged clayey gullies. All of this in the name of St. Francis, who walked through these streets several times, leaving behind him the indelible roots of a millenary spiritual history which the Way cannot ignore.
Minimum 2 participants – Maximum 20
Distance: 18.9 km
Asphalt: 65% - Gravel road: 35%
Travel time: 5.30 hours
Altitude difference: elevation gain 250 meters. descent 350 mt
The journey begins in Assisi, the birthplace of St. Francis and a land that witnessed his change from being a wealthy young man to being the Saint who changed the fate of Europe with his ideals of peace and charity. Assisi is also the starting point of his long pilgrimages and the final point of return a few days before his death in 1226.The first stage is easy, with undemanding ups and downs, full of water sources and opportunities to rest. The route leads through the buttresses of the Regional Park of Mount Subasio and the enchanting olive groves which characterize the Umbrian Valley, making it unique. Left Assisi after the suggestive Via degli Ulivi we meet Spello, orange flag of the most beautiful villages in Italy, a medieval pearl with its Roman vestiges, which once was a renowned logistic and commercial center and an obligatory stop for the North. Continuing on, you reach Foligno, which has also always been a crossroads for pilgrims and businesses but also a cultural hub where the fourth Italian printing house was founded in 1470, and in which two years later the first version of Dante's Divine Comedy was printed. It is the destination of the first stage, so you will have time to admire the beauty of its historic center. Free meals. After the arrival, overnight stay in the chosen facility.
Length: 25.3 km
Asphalt: 15% - Gravel road 85%.
Travel time: 8/9 hours
Altitude difference: (+) 750 meters (-) 200 meters
Breakfast at the hotel. Today's stage is challenging because it climbs up to the Colfiorito pass, it crosses the entire Foligno area and reaches the border between Umbria and Marche. Even though there are some water sources, it is necessary to never run of water, because the path is very exposed to the sun. The route is rich in naturalistic features such as the Topino river embankment at the Foligno's exit, the waterfalls of the Menotre river which rises at 800 meters above sea level, and which in the past contributed to the well-being of the inhabitants of the area thanks to its pure and cold waters. who have created the natural habitat for shrimp and brook trout. Not so far from the falls there is also the mountain village of Pale, set in the rock and known for the Hermitage of Santa Maria Giacobbe. Arriving at the end of the stage you reach the marsh of the Colfiorito Regional Park established in 1995 in a protected area aimed at safeguarding the fauna of the marsh which has been reduced due to the continuous reclamation works of the Marsh, which begun from the Roman era up to early 900. Arrival in Colfiorito. Free meals, overnight at the Lieta Sosta hotel.
Length: 26.8 km
Travel time: 8 hours
Altitude difference: (+) 450 meters (-) 800 meters
Breakfast at the hotel. We recommend to departure early in the morning. This is a long stage that immediately enters the Marche region and runs entirely through the Chienti river valley. Few water sources but different locations for water supply: Serravalle di Chienti, Gelagna Bassa, Muccia, Polverina. The route touches the highest point of the path and winds through various ups and downs, while passing through places of historical value: the mill of Gelagna, of the 1600, which also has a power station of the 1913 still working with the same equipment of that time; the village of La Maddalena, the Saint Francis's monastery in Pievebovigliana, founded by Saint Francis himself in 1215, in a place where he found silence and shelter. In the external courtyard there is also the pit mentioned in the florets where, according to the legend, St. Francis turned water into wine to quench the thirsty workers involved in the construction of the building.
Also noteworthy is the Beldiletto Castle, summer residence of the Varano family, the lords of Camerino, which is full of frescoes, dating back to 1381. The route also has a strong naturalistic impact, especially for Lake Polverina. Free meals, overnight stay in the chosen structure.
Length: 18.7 km,
Travel time: 6 hours
Asphalt: 75%. - Gravel road: 25%.
Altitude difference: (+) 650 mt (-) 450 mt
Breakfast at the hotel. A rather easy and enjoyable stage to walk through, without particular differences in altitude, characterized by the presence of numerous castles, connected to each other by paths surrounded by nature: the medieval village of Pievefavera, with its intact Castle, which overlooks the Chienti Valley with an extraordinary view on the lake of Caccamo and on the plain of Caldarola. Castel di Croce, which have got a medieval origin although the ruins that we can admire today date back to the Varano era in the fourteenth century; the Vestignano Castle, built in the 8th century by the Lombards and renovated in the 15th century by the Lordship of I Da Varano and the Castle of Montalto di Cessapalombo which announces the entrance to the city and which, however, is in a state of neglect after the 2016 earthquake. In addition to the castles, it is worth stopping by the Carolingian church of San Giusto in San Maroto which preserves frescoes and paintings from the 15th century and the ripestrian churc of Madonna del Sasso set in the rock. All of this is not so far from the architectural gem, which is Caldarola.
Length: 17.8 km T
Travel time: 6/7 hours
Asphalt: 20%. - Gravel road: 80%.
Altitude difference: (+) 700 meters (-) 750 meters
Breakfast at the hotel. This is the stage of access to the territory protected by the Sibillini Mountains National Park: the bare profile of its mountains will be the background until our arrival in Ascoli Piceno. Some rivers, such as the Fiastrone, the Tenna and the Aso, arise right inside the park. It is a stage of great naturalistic impact, which enters the protected territory of the Sibillini Mountains National Park and runs along the wooded slopes up to the medieval and thermal center of Sarnano. The stories told by the coalmen and the shepherds are intertwined with St. Francis's stories and his associates, just think of San Liberato's convent where the famous Fioretti were written, a book that collects the miracles and teachings of St. Francis written by Ugolino from Montegiorgio between 1327/1340. The text reports the conversations of the Saint with his best known companions (including St. Clare) from which his greatest teachings came out: perfect joy, poverty, love for creatures.
Although it is 3 km long, it is recommended to make the suggestive variant of the gorges of the Fiastrone river because it leads to the beautiful Grotta dei Frati: a complex of three caves of karstic composition formed as a result of the erosion of the rains and atmospheric agents that have given shape to these narrow rooms carved into the mountain. A wild and solitary place, suitable for contemplative and renunciation life, where prayer rose to reach the Highest. If you opt for this alternative, it is good to bring a pair of sandals and a towel for the ford and to be physically prepared for a rough and treacherous path. The stage ends in the village of Sarnano, one of the most beautiful villages in Italy and linked to the figure of Saint Francis so much. According to the legend, Saint Francis himself designed the emblem of the town, which still have got the symbol of the Seraphim today. the angel who appeared to the Saint when he received the stigmata.
Length: 22.3 km
Travel time: 7.30 hours
Asphalt: 30%. - Gravel road: 70%.
Altitude difference (+): 600 mt (-): 650 mt
Breakfast at the hotel. Departure for a stage without particular difficulties. Pedemontana stage without large altitude differences to skirt the peaks of the Sibillini along medieval paths such as the Via dei Mercatali (in the Grassetti area) used in medieval times by cattle breeders who went to the fair that took place in the Borgo di Pianelle; Roman roads such as the Salaria Gallica, so called because it connected the via del sale del Piceno to the ager gallicus (Senigallia, land of the Senoni roosters), and historical bridges such as the 13th century Romanesque bridge that you cross when leaving Amandola, It is said that on this bridge one of the miracles of the blessed Antonio di Amandola took place, when a company of fortune from Comunanza was about to attack the town. The Blessed One suddenly appeared in all its glory, making the horses stop on the bridge and allowing the Amandolese troops to attack and repel the invaders. The town of Amandola, center of the Sibillini National Park, orange flag of the Touring Club, has been a municipality since 1249 and has been a settlement since Lombard times. Although some of its monuments were damaged by the earthquake of 2016, from Piazza Umberto I, known to the Amandolese as Piazza Alta, you can admire one of the most beautiful views of the Sibillini chain. The origin of its name feeds the already conspicuous collection of legends that hover about the Sibillini, it is said that Phyllis, daughter of Lycurgus King of Sparta, was married to the handsome Demophon, who left for the Trojan War. The war was over but Demophon was late in returning to his beloved, who had received the false news that her husband, who fell in love with another girl, would never show up again. Desperate Phyllis then fled from Greece and reached the Sibillini Mountains, in the place of the ancient Castel Leone, took her own life and her body was transformed into an almond tree, a large tree, beautiful but devoid of leaves. Demophon returned home and, not finding his beloved woman, decided to go in search of her. When he too arrived in Castel Leone, he learned of the tragic end of Phyllis and there was nothing left for him to do but embrace the trunk of that almond tree which, by magic, immediately became leafy and rich in gems. From that ancient almond tree, settled in the hill of Castel Leone, the city of Amandola took its name. The stage ends in the town of Comunanza, a sparkling cultural and business center, one of the first to open a hostel in a historic residence for pilgrims.
Length: 21.2 km
Travel time : 7 hours
Asphalt: 25%. - Gravel road: 75%.
Altitude difference (+): 700 mt - (-): 750 mt
Breakfast at the hotel. Departure for a stage without a lot of altitude difference in the woods, which crosses naturalistic areas without services. Make a good supply of water at the start as we will not find any water sources until Palmiano, the smallest town in the Piceno with 200 inhabitants, after about 14 km. Evocative views of the Sibillini mountains, the Laga mountains and the Gran Sasso up to Venarotta, a Franciscan town suited to welcoming pilgrims.
Shortly before reaching the destination it is worth a visit to the Convent Church of St. Francis perched on the top of a hill, probably founded in 1220 by St. Francis himself. At the end of the fifteenth century the church was enlarged with a nave, a chapel for the Holy Cross and it was also equipped with a small choir for the friars. In 1603 the structure that we can admire today was completed with the bell tower and the portico. The municipal cemetery has been located in the external garden. Today in some rooms of the convent one of the first reception centers for pilgrims of the CFM, the Saint Francis and Saint Giacomo's hospital has been set up.
Length: 15.2 km
Travel time : 5 hours
Asphalt: 20%. - Gravel road: 80%.
Altitude difference (+): 350 mt - (-): 600 mt
Breakfast at the hotel. We recommend you to stock up on water before departure because the route has no refreshment points. The last stage of the Franciscan journey of the Marca is rather short and arrives in the center of Ascoli Piceno, the "white city of a hundred towers", without ever passing through busy roads and following the development of the Chiaro stream valley. Along the way we meet the gullies, the geological formations typical of this part of the territory, which can be admired in their best perspective along the Venarotta - Montedinove variant. The badlands, or "ripe" in dialect, are a geomorphological phenomenon of soil erosion that is produced by the effect of water washout. Throughout the Piceno territory the hills are subjected to this process and they offer a clear ocher landscape with violent cliffs and sharp cones without trees and without grass, dug by the waters in holes, malignant-looking beaches, like a lunar landscape and from every it is nothing more than clay precipices on which the houses stand as if freed in the air.
After about 5 km of walking, the stage passes by the town of Tirabotte, where a stop at Piero's home is a must. Piero is one of the first pilgrims who made this journey and with his wife Silvia, he offers refreshment to pilgrims in an atmosphere of sharing and folklore. The walk ends in Ascoli Piceno, a white city because it was built with travertine marble. The entrance to the historic center is through a Roman bridge from the Augustan era that crosses the Tronto river, and is considered one of the most representative bridges of Roman technique and civilization having fully preserved its construction features.
We suggest extending the experience by one night and sleeping in Ascoli Piceno to calmly enjoy its architectural beauties and its delicious cuisine.
Tariff per person, starting from:
|From 1 July 2020 to 31 December 2020||€ 290|
2/3 * hotel or B&B accommodation :
The tariff includes
The tariff does not include
Duration: 7 days / 6 nights
from € 190 - Voli esclusi
Duration: 8 days / 7 nights
from € 650 - Voli esclusi