The Walk of Assisi has ancient origins: it popped up almost spontaneously, from the opportunity to connect the many traditional pilgrimages that had already been in existence for centuries on a local level, linked to ancient and peculiar devotions and that relived in this dimension. This route gave new life to inner searching and the essentialness of Saint Francis's doctrine. Also because here it is not just the stones that can testify to strangers about His Teachings, they can actually be experienced along this walk and in the Assisi community that was the original Franciscan monastery.
Dovadola, in the province of Forlì-Cesena, is the starting point of this walk: it begins with a visit to the hermitage of Montepaolo, the first Italian home of Saint Anthony. Located in an isolated position, 7 km from the nearest town and at 425 meters above sea level on the top of a hill with the same name, this is the ideal place to rest your spirit, away from traffic and noise.
The sanctuary has a celebrated relic of Saint Anthony and the Grotto where the Saint often retreated in prayer, which can be reached on foot along the "Path of Hope".
The entire Walk is designed around some unmissable points, linked to the essence of the pilgrimage itself: it goes through well known places such as Assisi, La Verna (the sacred mount of the stigmata), Gubbio, Montecasale, then other Franciscan centers of undoubted religious importance, such as the hermitage of Casella, and the millennium old hermitage of Camaldoli, founded by Saint Romualdo of Ravenna.
The towns chosen are quite predictable due to their Franciscan presence: the paths that connect them for the pilgrim reflect the ancient roads without leaving out the lovely views of the lands around them. About 80% of the route can be done by bike to encourage this new form of pilgrimage which has replaced the many pilgrims who came on horseback in the past. A fruitful collaboration has begun between the Corpo Forestale and the Ente tutela Parchi, as most of the paths taken are in areas under their tutelage.
Dovadola, Rocca San Casciano, Portico, Premilcuore, Santa Sofia (Corniolo, Campigna), then into Tuscany along the beautiful peaks set in the Casentino Park, reaching Badia Prataglia (Municipality of Poppi), Chiusi della Verna, Michelangelo Caprese, Pieve Santo Stefano, Sansepolcro, then finally into Umbria with Città di Castello, Pietralunga and then into Gubbio, where you can continue on to Valfabbrica (the classic Franciscan route) or go towards the wonderful park of Mount Cucco crossing through Gualdo Tadino to finally reach Nocera Umbra and walk the same path of Saint Francis's last return to Assisi, who was by then well aware of his imminent “Extreme Journey”.
The Compagnia del Cammino issues Pilgrimage Credentials.
Regions crossed: Emilia Romagna, Umbria
Legs: the breakdown is as follows:
1st leg: Dovadola - Capannina 21 km
2nd leg: Capannina - Premilcuore 21 km
3rd leg: Premilcuore - Corniolo 18 km
4th leg: Corniolo – Passo della Cisa - Camaldoli 23 km
Length: about 290 Km total, walkable in about in 12 - 13 days; in Emilia Romagna the route is 72 km long
Level of difficulty: medium
Group on Facebook: Cammino di Assisi
Hermitage of Montepaolo
Via Monte Paolo, 24, 47013 Dovadola (FC), Italia
Telephone: Eremo +39.0543.934723
Piazza della Vittoria 3
Municipality Telephone +39.0543. 934764 - +39.0543.933213
Secretary's office +39.0543.934703