After walking an annual pilgrimage in Europe for the last many years I’ve often been asked by friends, “When are you going to invite others to join you?” Well, the time has come! I’m inviting you to join me September 3-16 in a beautiful and holy walking pilgrimage from Assisi to the Eternal City of Rome! I’m hosting the tour, will walk it with you each step of the way, and am delighted to have the help and support of St. Francis Pilgrimages to make the ground arrangements and support our group. Since this year has been declared the Jubilee Year of Mercy it’s an especially meaningful year to be a pilgrim to Rome!
This walk is very dear to me. I travelled it first with friends in 2013 and had a total blast. Jacqueline, Sebastian, Andreas and I explored the relatively undeveloped route with little help from guidebooks, which led to a contract with Cicerone Press to write a guidebook. I returned to the walk in 2014, armed with Italian language lessons, a friend’s camera, a new GPS given me by my church, a laptop, and a dictation app for my iPhone. Then my beloved Theresa Elliott joined me from Spoleto to Rome.
While I was in Italy I made some great friends among local pilgrimage supporters, including leaders of Sviluppumbria, which promotes economic vitality in the Region of Umbria. Led by Chiara dall’Aglio, Sviluppumbria sponsored a book launch on November 5 of last year in London. Since then, my guidebook, The Way of St. Francis: From Florence to Assisi and Rome has received great reviews and sets the bar as the first English language guide covering the entirety of this amazing pilgrimage trail.
Something that would make this path even more special would be to share it with you. Here’s how it would work: we meet in Assisi, enjoy an evening of exploration and then come together for the pilgrim mass in the Basilica of San Francesco. The next morning we walk up St. Francis’ beloved Mount Subasio, enjoying spectacular views of the Tiber River Valley below. We finish the day in the medieval village of Spello before taking our van 50km south to the lively and cosmopolitan town of Spoleto.
We enjoy an evening in delightful Spoleto and the next morning head across the ancient Bridge of the Towers to the Franciscan convent of Monteluco. Overlooking a dramatic gorge along the way, before long we cross into the Nera River Valley nature preserve, staying in the tiny village of Macenano. The following day it is up to the Marmore Falls, followed by serene Lake Piediluco, and then an overnight in picturesque Labro. We walk to the remote and peaceful Birch Tree of St Francis, then on to Poggio Bustone, site of Francis’ spiritual transformation. We rest in Rieti, then begin the final days in our walk to the Eternal City. Our time ends with our arrival in Rome and application for our official Pilgrim Testimonium, a certificate of completion granted by the Vatican to all, like us, who have walked more than 100 kilometers to get there. Here’s our route on Google Maps. Oh, and I forgot to mention that we will walk through the Holy Doors at St. Peter’s Basilica, open only in Jubilee years like this one.
Amazing! Of course there are also some costs for this walk of a lifetime. It’s important that all participants be strong walkers since we will frequently walk on mountainous trails, occasionally with difficult footing. That means training and advance work to be certain we’re able. A good pair of hiking boots or shoes is essential. We walk rain or shine, so a well-equipped backpack with rain gear is a must. Of course there is the financial cost, too. It’s $2,150 for the ground portion of the trip, which includes all hotels, breakfasts and dinners each day of our journey. We’ll also send you a free copy of my book and will work individually with you to assure you are prepared for the journey.
We will need eight pilgrims to make this happen. I hope you will be one of our band of trekkers! Oh, and did I mention that Theresa will be joining us, too? Another of the many great reasons to come along!
If you’re ready to join in this unforgettable journey, please download and return the AssisitoRomewithSandyBrownRegistrationFlyer. Any questions? Feel free to write a comment and I’ll get right back to you. Thank you, and buon cammino!