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Home The Pilgrims' Paths in Emilia Romagna Saint Francis’s walk from Rimini to La Verna

Saint Francis’s walk from Rimini to La Verna

 

This trail was inaugurated in 2013 for the eight hundredth anniversary of the passing of Saint Francis through Valmarecchia and of the gift of Mount Verna, which happened in San Leo. This trail winds through a beautiful landscape, featuring the Marecchia River and steep cliffs topped with walled villages. The section of Apennines that connects Valmarecchia to La Verna is set deep in the mountains in the woods with long sections along the mountain ridges.

 

This route connects the main towns where Saint Francis’s passing by is cited in either documents or supported by ancient traditions. In fact, Valmarecchia has always represented a borderland and, due to its being relatively easy to travel through, a “gateway” of communication among Central Italy, Rimini and Romagna. Also numerous Romei pilgrims crossed through it, coming from northern Italy and from towns east of Aquileia. So it should be no surprise that Saint Francis, in carrying out his “wandering ministry” took this route, probably more than once.

The Considerazioni delle Stimmate, a Franciscan test from the 14th century, tells of when Saint Francis, in 1213, in the company of brother Leone, going towards Romagna, reached the castle of Montefeltro (the ancient name of San Leo) on May 8, the day when a soldier was being knighted. The Saint preached in the square in front of the people and nobles gathered there, among whom there was Orlando Catani, the count of Chiusi in the Casentino, who, touched by Francis’s words, asked him for a personal meeting to reflect with him on saving his soul. At the end of this discussion, the count asked Francis to accept the gift of Mount Verna, which Saint Francis accepted. This meeting was thus the origin of the Franciscan establishment on Mount Verna, where the Saint received this Holy Stigmata and where the current Sanctuary was built. In memory of this visit, the city of San Leo inserted the figure of Saint Francis into their city coat of arms.

 

There are many signs that support the ancient traditions according to which, directly connected to Saint Francis’s stops in Valmarecchia, many convents were established and miraculous episodes occurred. There is, for example, the convent of Sant’Igne, built in 1244 in the woods at the foot of the cliffs of San Leo. Then there is Villa Verucchio, where there is a giant cypress tree in the cloister that was supposedly planted by the Saint and has been studied by botanists due to its size and longevity. The settlements of the 13th century, of the Clarisse and the Frati Minori in the area of Sant’Agata Feltria, were, according to legend, started by the Saint during his journey, probably on his way to San Leo in May 1213. Also worth mentioning is the existence in these places of many witnesses of the Franciscan spirit, an example for everyone is Brother Matteo da Bascio, commonly recognized as the founder of the Capuchin order.

 

Saint Francis, having incarnated his witnessing of the Christian faith in a poor and simple life, in touch with people, was very loved and still is today. The presence of Franciscans in these lands is still common and the religious fervor that it invokes is still very much alive among locals. The Walk hopes to continue the tradition of helping pilgrims find their way, on foot, by mountain bike or on horseback, by walking in the footsteps through the places touched by the Saint and by the great witnesses of the Franciscan order that were established in these lands.

 

Saint Francis’s Walk from Rimini to La Verna includes 5 legs for a total of 112 kilometers that wind through Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany, crossing through the valley of the river Marecchia in the lands of 10 municipalities in the provinces of Rimini, Forlì-Cesena and Arezzo. It is the northeastern gateway to Saint Francis’s Way which, passing through Umbria and Lazio, goes to Rome.

The entire Rimini – Rome route is about 500 km long and can be walked in 26-27 days. It is described, with some common legs and some variations, in various guides and is summarized on the website of the Associazione L’Umana Dimora di Rimini that does the upkeep of this trail. It is marked with the yellow Franciscan symbol of the Tau (like all of the Saint Francis’s Way up to Rome) which is in addition to the white and red CAI marks found along most of the route. Besides the main route, with a variation that will be open starting in spring 2017, all of the places of the Valmarecchia touched by the passage of Saint Francis or significant in some way in regards to Franciscan history in this area will be linked.

 

 

In detail


Regions crossed: Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, with links to Franciscan walks that pass through Umbria and Lazio up to Rome

Legs:

1st leg: Rimini - Villa Verucchio 22 km

2nd leg: Villa Verucchio - San Leo 23 km

3rd leg: San Leo - Sant’Agata Feltria 21 km

4th leg: Sant’Agata Feltria - Balze 22 km

5th leg: Balze - La Verna 25 km

Length: full route Rimini - La Verna (excluding variations and detours) 112 km

Level of difficulty: low and linked mostly to the length and steepness of a few legs. The trail, even when it gets into the Apennines, with good weather is not very difficult, although it requires some hiking experience.


Discover the route leg by leg

 

Variations


San Leo - Passo Viamaggio (open starting in summer 2017):

San Leo - Pennabilli 24 km
Pennabilli - Badia Tedalda 24 km
Badia Tedalda - Passo di Viamaggio 11 km

 

Information


Websitewww.umanadimorarimini.it

E-mail: segreteria@umanadimorarimini.it

Ufficio Informazione Turistica Rimini – Centro Città
E-mail: stazione@riminireservation.it
Tel. +39 0541 51331 or + 39 0541 24760 

Ufficio Informazione Turistica Verucchio
E-mail: ufficioiat@prolocoverucchio.it
Tel. + 39 0541 670222   

Ufficio Informazione Turistica San Leo
E-mail: info@sanleo2000.it
Tel. Tel: +39 0541 916306  +39 0541 926967

Ufficio Informazione Turistica Novafeltria

E-mail: urp@comune.novafeltria.rn.it
Tel.  +39 0541 845619   

Ufficio Informazione Turistica Sant’Agata Feltria

E-mail: info@prolocosantagatafeltria.com
Tel. +39 0541 848 022

Ufficio Informazione Turistica Balze
Tel. + 39 0543 906589

Last modified Sep 13, 2017

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