St Francis Way Explained

Walking into Assisi on the St Francis Way
Walking into Assisi on the St Francis Way

The St Francis Way Explained

The St Francis Way is an Italian Camino route inspired by the life of St Francis of Assisi, one of the most revered religious figures in history. The trail begins in Florence, with its rich Renaissance heritage, winds through the typical landscape of eastern Tuscany and Umbria - shady forests, orchards, fields, vineyards and olive groves - to Lazio and finally the Eternal City, Rome. 
 
The full St Francis Way takes 32 days to complete; however, you can walk shorter stages that range between 6-8 days on a self-guided tour. It is also possible to customise your itinerary with UTracks.
 
The St Francis Way is the ideal walk for those seeking a more spiritual and authentic pilgrim trail. Read on for more information about this wonderful Camino in Italy.
 
Walking the St Francis Way in Italy |  <i>Jaclyn Lofts</i>

 

Who was St Francis of Assisi?

Saint Francis of Assisi, born Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone, was an Italian Catholic friar, deacon, and preacher. He lived in the late 12th and early 13th centuries (1182 – 1226). 
 
He is renowned for his dedication to poverty, humility, and simplicity, as well as his deep love for nature and animals. St. Francis founded the Franciscan Order and the Women's Order of St. Clare, both of which embraced a life of poverty and service to others. 
 
He is remembered for his devotion to Christ and his teachings on compassion, peace, and caring for the less fortunate. St. Francis is also famous for receiving the stigmata, the wounds of Christ, making him one of the most revered and beloved saints in Christian history.
 
St Francis of Assisi |  <i>Jaclyn Lofts</i>
 

What is the St Francis Way trail like?

 
It is best to think of the St Francis Way as a collection of shorter pilgrimages that combine to tell the story of the patron saint of ecology's life. Discover traces of his passage, such as Franciscan hermitages, chapels and crosses.
 
The rolling landscapes of Umbria are a feature of the St Francis Way camino route
 
As you walk through dense ancient forests, orchards, olive groves and lush fields of produce, regularly passing hermitages, chapels and crosses dedicated to the saint, it’s not hard to imagine St Francis and the thousands of walkers and pilgrims after him wandering along this unique, spiritual and scenic Camino path.

The most picturesque section traverses eastern Tuscany and northern Umbria, the ‘green heart’ of Italy, through dense ancient forests, orchards, vineyards, olive groves, medieval hilltop villages and chapels and crosses dedicated to St Francis.
 
Walking the St Francis Way in Italy |  <i>Jaclyn Lofts</i> Walking the St Francis Way in Italy |  <i>Jaclyn Lofts</i> The St Francis Way is a spiritual experience |  <i>Jaclyn Lofts</i>

 

How to walk the St Francis Way

 
The full St Francis Way takes 32 days to complete; however, you can walk shorter stages that range between 6-8 days on a self-guided tour. There are 7 St Francis Way itineraries to choose from with UTracks plus it is also possible to customise your itinerary.
 

Stage 1: Florence to Chiusi

From the Tuscan capital Florence with its magnificent artistic and architectural heritage, discover traces of St Francis' passage including Franciscan hermitages, chapels and crosses as you walk east and through the National Park of Foreste Casentinesi to Chiusi della Verna.
 
 
View over Florence in Italy
 

Stage 2: Chiusi to Città di Castello

 
Apart from the spiritual side of this walk, there are numerous drawcards along the way such as Chiusi with its charming location and Franciscan monastery, the medieval hamlet of Anghiari and the culinary delights which await each evening. Crossing from the Arno to the Tiber river valleys, with hill top castles dotting the landscape and evidence of St Francis and his journey from church to chapels, there are also opportunities to view birdlife such as Montagu's Harrier and Moorhen.
 
 

Stage 3: Città di Castello to Assisi

 
Highlights of this stage include Gubbio and Assisi, two ancient towns full of history, and the many small, authentic medieval villages that dot the undulating hills. Following a well signposted trail, there will be opportunities to sample great local cheese, salami, truffles and wines and stay in characterful, specially chosen hotels and agriturismi as you make your way to Assisi set on the western slopes of Mt Subasio and birthplace of St Francis.
 
 
The charming town of Gubbio, a highlight on the St Francis Way camino route
 

Stage 4: Assisi to Spoleto

 
The section between Assisi and Spoleto is a highly-rated traveller favourite. 
 
"A relaxing, but also interesting and energizing week walking mainly along quiet tracks through lovely countryside and historic villages. Walking was nearly all up or down with minimal flat, so excellent exercise. Accommodations were varied, but all nice and with friendly welcomes. We're bound to do another walk like this again." C. Lamb; Assisi to Spoleto stage.
 
 
Sunset view over Assisi |  <i>Jaclyn Lofts</i>
 

Stage 4: Spoleto to Rieti

 
Discover the hidden wonders of Umbria along this segment of the St. Francis Way. From the idyllic Piediluco Lake, beloved by artists and poets, to the rugged peaks of the Apennine mountains, each natural sight resonates with the spiritual essence that captivated St. Francis during his journey through these lands. Medieval hilltop villages offer further enchantment, perfect for exploration at day's end. Indulge in the local cuisine, featuring delicacies like Spoleto's black truffles and trail-produced salami and wine, rewarding your walking endeavors. As you approach Rieti and its surrounding Holy Valley, St. Francis's enduring influence leaves an indelible mark on the landscape.
 
 

Stage 5: Rieti to Rome

 
During this final section of the Way of St Francis 'Camino' route, explore a less known, beautiful part of Italy, the Sabina, an area in Lazio characterized by green hills and enchanting hamlets, and guarded by imposing castles. En route, sample excellent local produce and soak up the warm hospitality of family-run accommodation. The final day takes you into the heart of Rome, with all its sights and brimming with atmosphere, a fitting end to your Italian Camino.
 
 

Full St Francis Way

 
Over 32 days, experience the full St Francis Way and don't miss a step!
 
 
Pilgrim walking into St Peters in Rome |  <i>Tim Charody</i>
 
 

What is the food and drink like on the St Francis Way?

 
Enroute, you can sample excellent local and regional culinary delights from Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio.
 
Umbrian specialties like truffles, wild mushrooms, and cured meats highlight the region's rustic flavors, while Tuscan classics such as ribollita and bistecca alla fiorentina showcase the heartiness and simplicity of the cuisine. 
 
Spoil yourself while walking in Italy |  <i>Jaclyn Lofts</i> Delicious truffle and pasta in Italy |  <i>Jaclyn Lofts</i> Apertivo hour in Italy |  <i>Jaclyn Lofts</i>
Pilgrims can also enjoy a variety of local wines, including Sangiovese and Montepulciano, alongside simple yet satisfying meals prepared with care by local establishments. 
 
 

How hard is it to walk the St Francis Way?

 
All stages of the St Francis Way are graded at a moderate level. The paths are well defined and clearly marked. The whole itinerary is mainly on paths and gravel roads (strade bianche), and some sections on asphalted road. 
 
Walkers on the route from La Verna to Caprese Michelangelo
 
You should be able to walk for up to 23km per day although there are some options to shorten walks. The day's walks range from 8km to 23km with most around 15-18km. The walks may in part be during hot sun on stony tracks. 
 
The Tuscan and Lazio landscape of rolling hills (although sometimes steep and long), olive groves and vineyards, are traversed each walking day. A good level of fitness is required and prior experience is advisable. 
 
As with all of our trips, it is important that you are well prepared. We suggest that you undertake regular exercise – swimming, cycling, and jogging, three to four times a week for three months prior to your departure.
 
Beautiful landscapes of Italy |  <i>Jaclyn Lofts</i>
 

Accommodation on the St Francis Way

UTracks handpicks agriturismos and guest houses that complement the surroundings.
 
A farmstay is part of the experience when walking in Tuscany |  <i>Tim Charody</i>
 
Agriturismos are rustic 'farm stay' accommodations, commonly located in Italy, and nestled within independently operated working farms. You'll delight in delectable local flavours served by your hospitable hosts during meal times.

Guesthouses, or bed and breakfasts, are elected for their uncomplicated charm and authentic local vibe. The chosen B&Bs offer cleanliness, comfort, and the added warmth of hosts who enhance your overall experience.
 
Cosy accommodation in Italy. |  <i>Sue Badyari</i>
 

Reviews of the St Francis Way

"The Way of St Francis Pilgrimage is a fantastic journey. The navigation maps and app were invaluable in helping me with the route. The accommodation UTracks organised was fantastic overall." M. Chalain; Full St Francis Way.
 
"It was a fabulous way to see the country - a leisurely, engaging pace. The accommodation was often of very high quality and we loved seeing the region in our walking shoes." J. Hart; Assisi to Spoleto stage.
 
Beautiful landscapes of Italy |  <i>Jaclyn Lofts</i>
 
"Beautiful, pleasant days, but keep in mind, there are a lot of hard rough surfaces to hike on which can be very hard on even healthy feet. Lodging was more than we expected, especially the Agritourismo we stayed at." J. Butler; Città di Castello to Assisi stage.
 
"Our trip in Umbria was really spectacular. The route and organisation made the trip really successful and we loved seeing the small villages and countryside of Italy this way." M. Austin; Assisi to Spoleto stage.
 
Walking the St Francis Way in Italy |  <i>Jaclyn Lofts</i>
 
"Excellent information about all aspects of the trip given in advance. The app and printed route directions in particular were very useful, which made navigation easy. Accommodation was varied, interesting and always satisfactory and the luggage transfer took place on time and without any hitches. Terrain was more mountainous and wooded than we'd expected, but very enjoyable." G. Waters; Florence to Chiusi stage.
 
 

 

Find your St Francis Way walk

 
 
 

 
Are you inspired to walk the St Francis Way? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.
 
  
 
St Francis Way, St Francis, St Francis of Assisi, Italy, Italian Camino, Italian Pilgrimage

Comments (4)

Andy Durham

What is difference of single and solo supplements? What is total distance of the St. Francis Walk? Are you booking for 2025 yet?

3 months ago
William from UTracks

Hi Andy,

Great questions! Please see our answers below. Our team have also gotten in touch with you directly over email.

As of April 2024, the St Francis Way dates for next year have not yet been released however if you subscribe to our newsletter you will be the first to know.

The total distance of the Full St Francis Way, from Florence to Rome, is approximately 550km / 342 miles.

Regarding the supplement fees, see our guide:

The Single Supplement relates to when multiple travellers are on a trip together and they want individual rooms.

E.g. Tom, Mary and Jane are walking in the Cotswolds (lovely!). Tom and Mary are sharing a room, and Jane needs her own room. Jane will need to pay a Single Supplement.

The Solo Traveller Supplement applies for solo travellers. This is because our self-guided trips are priced based on twin-share accommodation.

E.g. Tom is walking in the Cotswolds by himself (still lovely!). Tom needs his own room and luggage transfers. Tom will need to pay a Solo Traveller Supplement.

The Solo Traveller Supplement is more than the Single Supplement because other costs, such as luggage transfers, can not be shared. If you are travelling solo, the Solo Traveller Supplement is the one that applies for you – you do not pay both.

Buen Camino!
William.

3 months ago
Sue jolly

Is it possible to bike this track?

3 months ago
William from UTracks

Hi Sue,

Great to hear you're interested in cycling the St Francis Way! Unfortunately this is not yet possible...however we'll investigate and see what we can do.

In the meantime, check out all our pilgrimage cycling tours here: https://www.utracks.com/camino/pilgrimage-cycling

3 months ago
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