Along the trails of St. Francis through the Green Heart of Italy - UMB 2
Through the hill towns of Umbria along the ancient pathways of St. Francis
Spoleto, Valnerina, Trevi, Spello & Assisi
Italy has a ‘Green Heart’, where it is a real pleasure to walk through the lovely countryside.
Not as famous as the Tuscan landscape, but perhaps more genuine and at least equally beautiful! You walk from village to village, a full immersion in the mythical Umbrian landscape. At first through forests and vineyards, then through the rolling hills, between the spectacular hilltop towns of Trevi, Spello and Assisi.
Moreover Umbria is a land full of cultural treasures, ranging from the world famous Assisi, with its impressive basilica dedicated to St. Francis, to lesser known small medieval towns like Trevi, Spello and of course the wonderful Roman town of Spoleto. You have of course ample time to visit these historic towns and of course also the many beautiful medieval monasteries along the pilgrim’s roads. For two nights you stay in one of the most beautiful monasteries.
However the emphasis of the tour is to enjoy the countryside, the rolling vineyards, poppies in spring and the wild cyclamen in autumn. Most of all, many of the views have changed little for hundreds of years. Eastern Umbria is still an area where you feel the genuine heart of Italy. You’ll walk at an easy pace from highlight to highlight, taking in the best of Central Italy.
Our tour finishes in the city of Assisi, a well known pilgrim’s place and pretty touristy, but als o the base for a few great roundwalks. The tour can easily be extended with a day or more in Perugia, the region’s capital city, a beautiful and lively cultural capital.
This is a moderately easy tour which is suitable for those who have some experience with walking and a good general physical condition. Through the extensive footpath network of the area, roughly following the traces of the medieval pilgrims’ path from Assisi to Rome and the Roman Via Flaminia, one of Europe’s most important ‘high ways’ in Roman times.
Arrival by train in Spoleto and transfer to the hotel (either by private taxi or public transport). Your hotel is located in the heart of the old town, known for its beautiful churches and many Roman monuments. It is also a very pleasant town for an afternoon walk or evening stroll. Depending on your arrival time, you could go for a quick visit to the town centre. In the evening you eat at the hotel restaurant. The famous ‘Ponte delle Torri’ is a marvel illuminated at night!
Hotel *** – Spoleto
Approx. walking time: 1 h. + sightseeing time.
The first day walk initially takes you through the whole of the historic town centre of Spoleto to its fortress. Then you walk across the impressive ‘Ponte delle Torri’ bridge, a unique aqueduct, to the other side of the valley, onto the hill of Monteluco. Here you make a very pleasant round walk through the forested hills, with wonderful views of Spoleto and its surroundings. The hill of Monteluco is considered a ‘holy mountain’ and many of the trails are linked to the spiritual history of the area. Here you can discover the ‘holy forest’ with its many grottoes, and wander around medieval chapels through a pleasant wooden landscape. Then you descend back into the valley of Spoleto again and return to the old town past the medieval chapel of San Pietro.
Hotel *** – Spoleto
Distance: 12 km. Approx. 4 h. walking + sightseeing time. Ascent & descent: +/- 450 m.
Optional Extra day: Along the old railway line to Norcia
Today’s walk takes you on a great walk from the centre of Spoleto, along the old railway track, which once linked Spoleto to Norcia. You’ll pass several beautiful churches and then walk through a pleasant countryside, alternated with forest. You cross several deep, impressive valleys, but being on a railway track, these can be crossed easily, and moreover with spectacular views over the whole plain of Umbria-. Upon reaching the medieval village of Eggi you have the time to look around, before returning to Spoleto (bus or taxi service available). The walk is relatively short, which allows you some time to wander around in beautiful Spoleto. There is an option to shorten the route if desired.
Hotel *** – Spoleto
Distance: 12 km. Approx. 5 h. walking + sightseeing time. Ascent & descent: +/- 550 m. (shorter options available)
After breakfast you begin your long walk, which will bring you into the Valnerina, the wonderful valley of the Nera River. First you cross the Ponte delle Torri again, but now you follow the beautiful path along the aqueduct, with great views of Spoleto. Then you follow the waymarked trail into the small valley of the Val Cieca, the ‘blind valley’, uphill towards the Castelmonte Pass. From here the path goes downhill into the beautiful Nera valley. In the early afternoon you reach the hamlet of Cese. Continue the walk through the forested hills and, towards the end of the afternoon, you reach the beautiful abbey of San Pietro in Valle, now a historical country residence. You’ll be staying here for the next two nights. In the evening you have a nice meal right here at the abbey restaurant.
Hotel *** – Ferentillo, San Pietro in Valle
Distance. 20 km. Approx. 6 h. walking. Ascent & descent: + 1000 m./- 1050 m.
Today you leave the abbey, heading west. You now walk through the narrowest part of the Nera valley, which until not long ago was almost completely cut off from the outer world and therefore virtually untouched. Past several charming hamlets, following the pilgrim trail from Assisi to Rome, you reach one of the wonders of central Italy: the Marmore Falls. These waterfalls, about 165 metres high, offer a unique visual and acoustic experience. And the most intriguing fact about them is that they are actually manmade, built in Ancient Roman times… You can make a wonderful roundwalk in the area, walking from viewpoint to viewpoint. After some time for contemplation or a drink you return either by bus or private taxi to your base at the abbey.
Hotel *** – Ferentillo, San Pietro in Valle
Distance: 18 km. Approx. 4,5 h. walking + sightseeing time. Ascent & descent: + 150 m./- 350 m. (shorter options available)
Today you first make a short transfer to Poreta (or Eggi as a longer walk). From either of these you can start your walk in a northern direction, again along the medieval trails that link Assisi to Rome. Depending on the walk you wish to make (more or less ups & downs) you can opt for a route through the hills, covered with beautiful olive groves and scattered with remains of medieval castles and walled hamlets, or descend into the valley and discover the mythical springs of the Clitunno River, believed to be divine waters in Roman times. Your goal for today is the beautiful little town of Trevi, one of the most charming in central Italy, overlooking the Valle Umbra and famous for its crystal-clear spring water. Here you settle in at your hotel for the night in one of the quiet, comfortable rooms. In the evening you can dine in one of the nice restaurants in the old town centre or at your hotel.
Hotel ***/**** – Trevi
Distance: 12,5 km. Approx. 4,5 h. walking + sightseeing time. Ascent & descent: + 400 m./- 500 m.
Optional Extra day: Trevi
In case you opt for the long walk starting from Eggi you can as well end today’s walk with a drink near the mythical springs of the Clitunno River and pay a short visit to the area. You can then be picked up by a taxi from here and will be brought to your hotel in Trevi. The next morning you will then do a beautiful roundwalk from Trevi, which includes the walk, from the Clitunno springs to Trevi.
From Trevi you’ll have a short transfer to the old Roman town of Spello, considered to be one of the most charming in the area. Take your time to have a coffee here and then walk uphill, all the way through the old town centre, located on a ridge. After passing the medieval town walls, the ridge continues and you continue your walk uphill, now through the olive groves. Depending on your energy levels you can opt either for the walk over the ridge of Monte Subasio, or stay at a lower level and walk through pleasant countryside(recommended), with great views over the valley and the town of Assisi, yet another highlight of this tour and the goal for today. In the afternoon you reach the Eremo delle Carceri, the place where St. Francis, and many others after him, sought spiritual relief – now a beautiful little monastery with a nice surrounding garden. From here you have the possibility of either continuing the walk all the way down or taking the bus to downtown Assisi, where you will stay for the last two nights.
Hotel *** – Assisi
Distance: 15 km. Approx. 6 h. walking + sightseeing time. Ascent & descent: + 1000 m./- 850 m. (shorter options available)
Optional Extra day: From Spello along the Roman acqueduct to Collepino
It’s worth it to spend an extra night in Spello, by many considered to be one of central Italy’s most beautiful villages. In that case you’ll be brought from Trevi to Spello and after settling in your hotel in you can make a beautiful walk which brings you in the marvellous valley just behind Spello. You’ll follow the old Roman acqueduct, with stunning views over the whole valley. Your goal for today is the charming village of Collepino, where you can opt to have lunch. You can travel back to Spello by bus (optional transfer) and take your time to wander around in beautiful Spello. In alternative there is an option for a beautiful walk back to Spello.
Hotel ***/**** – Spello
Approx. walking time: 3 h. + sightseeing time.
After breakfast you can take your time to look around. The town is full of highlights, among which, of course, is the World Heritage Site Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi (St. Francis), with its wonderful frescos by Giotto. But the other churches, the Greek temple in the central square and the underground Roman Forum are all worth a visit too. For those who want to do another short walk to conclude their walking holiday in style, we recommend taking the bus to the Eremo delle Carceri where you can start climbing up Mt. Subasio. Here a beautiful roundwalk around natural springs and small chapels can be made, before heading back down to the historical heart of Assisi for the final meal in Umbria.
Hotel *** – Assisi
Distance: 5 km Approx. 2 h. walking + sightseeing time. Ascent & descent: + 100 m./- 400 m. (longer options available)
End of the tour. From Assisi town centre there are buses to the train station (down in the valley), where you can find regular trains to Perugia, Rome and Florence.
Optional Extra day: Perugia
It’s worth it to spend an extra night in Perugia, the region’s capital and one of the most lively and international cities, thanks to its ‘Università per Stranieri’, the best place to learn Italian. It is an amazingly beautiful city with a very charming medieval town centre, fortresses. You can opt to walk to Perugia directly from Assisi (luggage transport on request), but of course it is also possible to travel by public transport (optional taxi) to Perugia and make a great roundwalk there, through the town and its surroundings.
Hotel ***/**** – Perugia
ACCOMMODATION & MEALS
Accommodation is on a partly half-board, partly bed & breakfast basis in good 3/4-star hotels and 2 nights in a historical residence (4-star level). All rooms have en-suite facilities.
Dinners are included on the arrival night in Spoleto, the first night in the abbey of San Pietro (in a fine restaurant) and the first night in Assisi. On the other nights, you will be free to make your own dinner arrangements. You can either eat at the premises of the hotel or choose from the wide choice of restaurants in the area. Your accommodation holder can give you good tips.
No picnic lunches are included in the tour price, but these can be prepared for you by the accommodation holders, or materials for picnics can be purchased in the villages where you’ll be staying.
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY
Moderate (2/3): Mostly easy walks, but with nonetheless some walking uphill, sometimes steeply and on paths with rough surfaces. On some days some stretches are difficult for those suffering from vertigo (but NOT dangerous !). On these days alternative options are available. Extensions or shortcuts are also possible on many days.
Fitness: High standard of fitness is not necessary but you should be able to walk for up to 5 hours a day in hot sun on dusty or stony tracks.
FOOTPATHS & WAYMARKING
Footpaths: Most paths are well maintained, but during the season some paths can get overgrown (we are in continuous contact with local authorities to keep the paths clean – please help us by providing you feedback on the quality of the paths).
Waymarking: A large part of the route is waymarked – with different marks, explained in the route notes. Elsewhere it is necessary to follow the route descriptions provided together with the maps. With these it is always possible to find your route. Most paths are well maintained, but the journey involves some walking uphill, sometimes on paths with rough surfaces
- 2 nights in Spoleto*** – 1 HB + 1 BB
- 2 nights in San Pietro in Valle*** – 1 HB + 1 BB
- 1 night in Trevi*** – BB
- 2 nights in Assisi*** – 1 HB + 1 BB
- Extensive route notes, with description of the route & tourist information
- Maps at 1 : 25.000 scale (or better)
- GPS tracks for each day
- 24/7 assistance
- Luggage transport
- Private transfers as specified
- Departure taxes
- Travel Insurance
- Tourist tax
- Drinks and meals not mentioned in the itinerary
- Optional additional tours or activities
- Items of personal nature
ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE
Arrival: The tour starts in SPOLETO. Spoleto can easily be reached by train from Rome (about 1 hour by train). A pick-up service can be arranged from the station to the hotel (about 10 minutes away).
Departure: The tour ends in ASSISI. A short transfer brings you to the train station (included), from where you travel back to either Perugia (extension), Florence or Rome, all easily reachable.
It is possible to include extra nights in any of the accommodations ‘en route’. Extra walking and/or sightseeing options will be provided ! As well is it possible to extend your tour with a few days in Perugia, the regional capital, a beautiful and lively city.
Also extra nights in either Florence or Rome can be booked at the end of the tour. Details and prices on request.
It is possible to book an upgrade in some of the places en route. Details and prices on request.
|01 April - 31 May 2023||€ 850||€ 250||€ 350||RESERVE YOUR PLACE|
|01 June - 30 June 2023||€ 835||€ 250||€ 350||RESERVE YOUR PLACE|
|01 July - 31 July 2023||€ 815||€ 250||€ 350||RESERVE YOUR PLACE|
|01 August - 31 August 2023||€ 850||€ 250||€ 350||RESERVE YOUR PLACE|
|01 September - 30 September 2023||€ 835||€ 250||€ 350||RESERVE YOUR PLACE|
|01 October - 31 October 2023||€ 815||€ 250||€ 350||RESERVE YOUR PLACE|
|01 November 2023 - 31 March 2024||- - -||- - -||- - -||CONTACT US|
|You can book this tour with a minimum of 1 person.|
|There are a very limited number of available places on these dates. Immediate booking is recommended.|
|Availability and prices on request.|
- Prices are per person and based on the season within which the first night of the tour falls.
- Prices are based on 2 people sharing double or twin accommodation. Single rooms (double rooms – single) are available on most trips however the supplements listed apply.
- If you are travelling alone then on some trips (which include taxi transfers) a ‘Solo Traveller Supplement’ will be applied instead of the normal single supplement.
- Prices are expressed in Euro’s. There will never be a currency surcharge.
- Actual exchange rates: GB £ - US $ - CAN $ - CHF - DKK - SEK - NOK - Other currencies.