The way of Francis

The Northern Way from La Verna to Assisi

The Northern Way just under 200 km. From La Verna to Assisi.

St Francis’ Way starts at the Sanctuary della Verna in Tuscany, which was one of St Francis of Assisi’s most treasured places.

From Casentinesi Forest National Parc, the trail winds through the gentlest hills of the high valley of the Tevere river in Umbria, passing through Citerna, Città di Castello and Pietralunga.

Arriving at Gubbio, a place of natural beauty and artistic treasures which is also the first place of pilgrimage for Saint Francis, the path undulates through peaceful hills and valleys whose silence will soothe your spirit.

Crossing the lush area of Valfabbrica until you reach the Basilica of St Francis of Assissi which is the world-renowned site to learn all about Italy’s patron saint’s life and works.

Package price

460 € with an E-Bike recommended for the challenging trail
385 € with bike rental (mtb, city bike, hybrid bike) per person per double room

Stage 1 - Anghiari - Pieve Santo Stefano

> Information briefing for the tour
> Bike and equipment pick-up

First Umbrian stage, bordering Tuscany and the evocative Hermitage of La Verna and 41 km more will take you to Pieve Santo Stefano. There are hamlets along the first few km of the trail, however this soon goes straight into Casentino woods for the rest of the distance.The trail is challenging, so you will need to have a good level of general fitness and pace yourself.

Hotel arrival, with welcome drinks

Departure to La Verna
Arrival at Pieve Santo Stefano
Distance 41 Km
Incline 1010
Road Surface asphalt and dirt track
Signpost no
Recommended bike: hybrid, gravel, E-bike

Things to see:
The places of St Francis – Verna Sanctuary
The places of St Francis – Verna (Arezzo – Toscana)
The Diary Museum – Pieve Santo Stefano.
It is worth making time to visit Cerbaiolo Hermitage (please check opening times).

Montecasale Hermitage is the place to stop, rest and meditate, where you will feel the presence of St Francis, who converted three thieves in this very place.


The second stage of St Francis’ Way. After the mountainous landscape of the previous stage we move onto the gentler landscape of the high Tevere valley. You’ll find water fountains and spots to refuel and take a break along the way.

From Pieve Santo Stefano via Sansepolcro, (a real gem, full of wonders including the precious works of Piero della Francesca, Rosso Fiorentino and other Renaissance masters),Citerna village, one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, sits atop a hill in the Tevere valley, and its fortifications make for great viewing points. In the historic centre, don’t forget to visit: the Church-Museum dedicated to St Francis (make sure you hear the story of the mysterious recovery of Donatello’s Madonna); the Church of San Michele Arcangelo, which houses the precious Crucifixion by Pomarancio and a Madonna with Child from the Della Robbia school; Don’t miss the unusual medieval passage between the walls.

From there you will reach Città di Castello which has a rich history as a centre for the arts: this is where important artists lived and worked, and their history is written in the stately buildings and monumental churches like the Duomo, San Domenico and San Francesco. Città di Castello is the birthplace of one of the greatest Umbrian artists of the twentieth century, Alberto Burri, whose work you can admire in the town’s two museums. Don’t miss the Diocese Museum, where you can see the Treasure of Canoscio, one of the oldest sets of liturgical objects in existence, dating back to paleochristian times. The climbs are gentle and you’ll be pedalling among fields and small villages. Moderate/ easy.

Departure Pieve Santo Stefano
Arrival Città di Castello
Distance 46 Km
Incline 280 meters
Road Surface asphalt and dirt
Signpost no
Recommended bike hybrid, gravel, E-bike

Things to see:
Sansepolcro (Arezzo – Toscana)
Luoghi di Francesco – Montesanto Citerna
Luoghi di Francesco – Eremo del Buon Riposo (Città di Castello)
“Archeologia Arborea”
Foundation Burri Collection – Palazzo Albizzini

Stage 3 - Città di castello- Gubbio

The third stage on St Francis’ Way, from Città di castello to Gubbio, via Pieve de’ Saddi and Pietralunga. This can be cut short depending on your needs, so you can enjoy the intervening breaks. Once again you are biking in nature, up and down the hills, along the path to one of the locations at the heart of the Way: Pieve de Saddi.

There are many resting points along the way to recharge and face the continual climbs and descents which take you to Pietralunga, where you can enjoy some peace and quiet while experiencing the warm hospitality of this little Umbrian village. The trail moves on to asphalt roads and opens up onto the splendid plain around Gubbio, where the horizontal lines of the fields criss-cross the vertical poplars along the irrigation canals. Your efforts will be rewarded upon reaching Gubbio, not just in terms of beauty but for the strong connection the town has with St Francis.

The Way reaches its end in front of the church of St Francis, where the touching statue of Francis and the wolf greets you as a memento of the miracle where the wild beast was tamed by the saint. In Gubbio, it is worth walking the so-called “Fratello Lupo Gubbio” trail, which takes visitors through the Franciscan sights of the town, which was the Saint of Assissi’s “second home”. The trail is challenging, so you will need to have a good level of general fitness and pace yourself.

Distance 46,3 Km
Incline 1070 metres
Road Surface asphalt and dirt
Signpost no

Recommended bike hybrid, gravel, E-bike

Things to see:
Places of St Francis – Sanctuary of the Madonna dei Rimedi (Pietralunga)
Pieve de’ Saddi
Places of St Francis – San Francesco Church and Convent (Gubbio)
Places of St Francis – San Francesco della Pace o dei Muratori Church
Places of St Francis –Santa Maria della Vittoria also known as La Vittorina Church (Gubbio)

Stage 4 - Gubbio-Assisi

The fourth and final stage of the Northern Way,is one of the most evocative and mysterious. Running from Gubbio to Assisi, it is also one of the most challenging stages of the trail. But it is one of the most evocative and significant stages of the whole journey, full of spirituality and artistic beauty. The stage takes you through one of St Francis’ most important journeys in reverse: once he made the prophetic gesture of ridding himself of all possessions in front of the bishop of Assisi, he made his way towards Gubbio, where his friend Spadalonga welcomed him as a pilgrim. Along this road St Francis proclaimed himself a “harbinger of the Great King” in front of the highwaymen who assaulted him.

He reached a monastery (Abbazia di Vallingegno), where he was reluctantly taken in and put to work in the kitchens as a scullion. After the village of Valfabbrica the trail carries on up to Assisi to bring the Way to an end at the Tomb of St Francis in the Basilica of ST Francis.

Departure Gubbio
Arrival Assisi

Distance 49 Km
Incline 1070 meters
Road Surface asphalt
Signpost no

Recommended bike hybrid, gravel, E-bike

Things to see:
Places of St Francis –Vallingegno or San Verecondo de Spissis
Abbeys Places of St Francis –San Pietro in Vigneto Hermitage
Places of St Francis – Caprignone Coccorano
Church Places of St Francis – Basilica Santa Maria degli Angeli
Places of St Francis – Rocca Maggiore
Places of St Francis – Casa Gualdi
Places of St Francis – San Benedetto al Subasio
Places of St Francis – Sant’Angelo di Panzo
Bastia Umbra
Santa Maria degli Angeli
Bosco di San Francesco – FAI

The itinerary includes:

  • 44 half-board bookings in a Hotel
  • Agrotourism/country wellbeing centre
  • Organized breaks with cultural visits
  • 4itinerary tours
  • Logistic Support
  • Bike rental (E-Bike, mtb,hybrid bikes according to your needs) repair kit, bike lock, helmet, lights.
  • Informative material with all the timetables, points of interest and different levels of difficulty
  • 24h support

The tour does not include:

  • Certificate of pilgrimage, to collect stamps and souvenirs from the trip.
  • 4 aperitifs (local cuisine tastings) / packed lunches / tavern lunches
  • Dedicated tour guide
  • Airport/ train station transport available on request
  • Extra entries and anything not explicitly included under “the rate includes”

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