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Footsteps of St Francis Walk

from $2,149.00

This 8-night linear trip is a great mix of wonderfully scenic walking and historic hilltop towns. The walks follow a mix of paths and trails, partly on the St Francis Way, partly on the ‘Sentiero degli Ulivi’, the Olive Grove Trail. Along the way, you explore the upper slopes of the ‘bald mountain’ Monte Subasio with stunning mountains vistas. You can discover the secluded hermitages of St Francis, pass the great Abbey at Sassovivo and wander the ruins of Campello Alto.

  • Reviews 38 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Self-guided
  • Activity Level Moderate
    5/8
All about the Footsteps of St Francis Walk.

This 8-night linear trip is a great mix of wonderfully scenic walking and historic hilltop towns. The walks follow a mix of paths and trails, partly on the St Francis Way, partly on the ‘Sentiero degli Ulivi’, the Olive Grove Trail. Along the way, you explore the upper slopes of the ‘bald mountain’ Monte Subasio with stunning mountains vistas. You can discover the secluded hermitages of St Francis, pass the great Abbey at Sassovivo and wander the ruins of Campello Alto.
The walking is beautifully unhurried, retracing in part the trail St Francis took on his final visit to Assisi in 1226. It’s a rural route brimming with rare flora and fauna, passing through olive groves dating back to Roman times. Stroll along pilgrimage trails through centuries-old forest and sacred woodland that has for years been tended and cared for by the Franciscan monks.
You stay in beautiful mediaeval towns: Assisi ‘the town of St Francis’ with its UNESCO-listed basilica; pretty Spello, which lies on the other side of Mount Subasio from Assisi; Trevi, standing on its hill overlooking the plains of Campello; Poreta, a tiny village with a restored hilltop castle and church, and finishing in Spoleto – the town of the amphitheatre and aqueduct.
The hotels we’ve chosen are special too. From Renaissance-style palaces in Assisi and Trevi to a chic renovated farmhouse in Poreta. Food of the region is rustic, often called ‘cucina povera’. The most typical pasta dish is Stongozzi, served with black truffles or a spicy tomato sauce, followed by simple grilled local meats and then a slice of pecorino cheese washed down with some superb wines. Sagrantino di Montefalco or red from Torgiano are just a sample. For a picnic lunch why not try the Umbrian staple, the porchetta sandwich – roast pig stuffed with herbs.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
  • 8 nights hotel-to-hotel accommodations in a mix of *** and **** hotels
  • All continental breakfasts and 4 evening meals
  • Services of your local Headwater Representative
  • Route directions and maps
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Arrival & departure transfers (available on request, inquire for supplement)
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)

Highlights

  • Discover Italy’s ‘Green Heart’: deep lush forests, impressive limestone gorges, rare flora and fauna in the Monte Subasio Natural Park
  • World-famous Assisi, jewel in the Umbrian crown; Spello, one of Italy’s best preserved Mediaeval towns
  • Exceptionally friendly hotels with panoramic swimming pools
  • Superb regional cuisine: highly prized black truffles, the finest of olive oils, famous Sagrantino wines
  1. Day 1 Day 1 Arrive in Assisi

    Arrive at your hotel, where you’ll stay for your first night. (Staying at Hotel Fontebella Palace, Breakfast only)

  2. Day 2 Day 2 Assisi to Spello 16km/10mi/5.5hr

    Climb up Monte Subasio to the Hermitage of Asissi. Traversing a trail along the mountain you get unforgettable views of the Vale of Spoleto, before heading down into delightful Spello and your hotel for two nights. (Staying at Albergo La Bastiglia, Half Board)

  3. Day 3 Day 3 At Spello

    Pink-stoned Spello is a well-preserved Roman town, with beautiful town walls, ruins of the old theatre and amphitheatre and thermal baths. Visit the church of Santa Maria Maggiore with its outstanding frescoes by Pinturicchio, the town’s art gallery, annexed to the church, and the Palazzo Comunale Vecchio (Old Town Hall). Or perhaps take the train to Perugia the region’s capital. (Staying at Albergo La Bastiglia, Half Board)

  4. Day 4 Day 4 Spello/Sassovivo to Trevi 16km/10mi/5hr

    A short transfer this morning – Then follow the Sentiero degli Ulivi – the Olive Grove Trail – that connects Spoleto to Assisi. Spend time at the beautifully-restored cloistered Abbey of Santa Croce di Sassovivo and continue through woodland and olive groves to the hilltop village of Roviglieto – the highest settlement on the trail at 700m. Descend to Trevi for a picture-postcard view of this Roman gem on the slopes of Monte Serano. You’ll stay here for two nights, and enjoy dinner (included) under the church tower in the atmospheric Piazza della Rocca. (Staying at Hotel Antica Dimora, breakfast included)

  5. Day 5 Day 5 At Trevi

    Explore this old theatre town with remnants of the Mura Romana (Roman Wall) and Mura Medieval (Medieval Wall) still encircling the town. The Teatro Clitunno is still one of the town’s most important gathering places. Visit the Olive Oil Museum, housed in an ex-convent, and stroll around the main square, home to the C14 Palazzo Comunale. (Staying at Hotel Antica Dimora, breakfast included)

  6. Day 6 Day 6 Trevi to Poreta 15km/9.5mi/4.5hr

    On the shared Olive Trail and Francesco Way, amble along to the hillside church of Madonna di San Arcangelo. Pass the secretive Eremo Francescano (Convento Pissignano) and explore the ruins of C10 Castello di Campello Alto. Then meander down to Poreta and your hotel for the next two nights, where dinner is included in the converted stables. (Staying at the Borgo della Marmotta, Half Board )

  7. Day 7 Day 7 At Poreta

    Borgo della Marmotta is a perfect place to unwind for a day or two. Relax on a lounger by the pool with a good book, soak up the sun in the hotel gardens, or pamper yourself with one of the wellness sessions. Or follow small country roads down to the village of Campello sul Clitunno and visit the Roman Springs and temple of Clitunno. (Staying at the Borgo della Marmotta, Half Board )

  8. Day 8 Day 8 Poreta to Spoleto 15km/9.5mi/4.5hr

    Pass through the typically Umbrian villages of Santa Maria Reggiano, Bazzano and Eggi. From Eggi, the St Francis Way leads you along back lanes to the bustling town of Spoleto. Or take the old Olive Trail high up onto the former railway line that used to run from Spoleto to Norcia. Cross the 60m-high Cortaccione Viaduct for a superb view back over your week’s walking. (Staying at the Hotel Charleston, Breakfast only )

  9. Day 9 Day 9 Leave Spoleto
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Where you stay
Hotel Fontebella Palace
Hotel Fontebella features a period, Renaissance style throughout the establishment and enjoys an exquisite view of a beautiful Umbrian valley. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout. Hot tubs and sauna available. You can choose different kinds of views, over the Umbrian Valley or over Assisi city centre. Buffet breakfast is served in the Sala degli Archi, decorated with beautiful brick arches, perfectly preserved throughout the centuries. On site you will find Restaurant Il Frantoio, which is mentioned in the Michelin guide. It has over 300 wines in its cellar and specialises in truffle dishes and homemade pasta.
Albergo La Bastiglia Hotel
The La Bastiglia Hotel boasts a beautiful setting at the foot of Mount Subasio, the enchanted mountain of Saint Francis. Originally an ancient mill the hotel has been lovingly restored and transformed into an unforgettable place to stay. There are 33 rooms divided into three categories, many overlooking the typical Umbrian landscape of cypress trees and olive groves. The restaurant serves a mix of ancient recipes and modern creations using the freshest ingredients. On display inside the hotel there is a collection of ceramics, antique furniture and important paintings from the private collection of Schifano and Norberto.
Hotel Antica Dimora
The Antica Dimora is housed in a building which dates back to 1650, built by an aristocrat for his eldest son. The building has been restored and renovated to a high standard. The decor keeps with the elegance and architecture of C17, the rooms feel grand and luxurious with frescoed ceilings and all have air con and minibar. The hotel offers a large buffet breakfast which in good weather can be taken on the terrace, dinner is a gourmet affair, a 4 course menu mixing the best of Umbrian and Mediterranean food, all matched with wine (included). The hotel has a small pool and terrace where you can catch the late sun in the afternoon.
Borgo della Marmotta
Borgo della Marmotta is not just a hotel. Borgo means ‘town’ in Italian and this wonderful location is more like a mini town than a hotel. In fact, the hotel has been built by restoring the buildings that were left unoccupied from a C17 village. Located next to the tiny hamlet of Poreta, the restoration has breathed new life into the tiny village restoring the Granary, the Square, the stables, the mill and the great outdoor courts. To create a luxurious, relaxing retreat in the beautiful Umbrian countryside. Today the hotel offers lovely airy rooms, a swimming pool, nice grounds and a terrace with wonderful views. The hotel’s restaurant offers an a la carte menu showcasing regional cuisine.
Castello di Poreta
As an alternative to the Borgo della Marmotta, stays can be taken at the Castello di Poreta. Offering stunning views of the Umbrian countryside the C14 Castello di Poreta stands above the vale of Spoleto at an altitude of 470 metres. The castle has been restored to create a rustic atmospheric hotel. The hotel rooms have a chique modern touch, and all have air con. The hotel restaurants serves local specialites and in good weather dinner can be taken on a terrace with a view. Wine is included with your dinner and a packed lunch is provided for the day when you leave the hotel.
Hotel Charleston
Completely renovated in 2011, Hotel Charleston is set in a 17th-century building in Spoleto’s historical centre, next to the Modern and Contemporary Arts Museum. Its elegant, individually-decorated rooms feature a modern design. Wi-Fi is free in all public areas. Rooms are individually decorated, and come with exposed wooden beams on the ceilings. Each is equipped with a minibar, and a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. A buffet breakfast is available each morning, and is served out on the terrace in warm weather.
Eating and Drinking

All continental breakfasts and 4 evening meals.

Umbria represents Italian home cooking at its best and the region’s cuisine reflects its landlocked location. The distinctive taste of the region’s olive oil and black and white truffles flavor many of the dishes. The origins of many of the dishes derive from thrift, for example, bruschetta comes from toasting stale bread, covering it with olive oil and rubbing it with garlic. Similarly, crostini are thin slices of toast with a smear of pate, usually made from chicken liver, anchovies and capers. Cooked and cured meats also have a fantastic reputation in the region. You will get to try many of these famous and delicious antipasti, which will then be followed by a ‘primo’ (a first course). In Umbria this is usually a pasta dish oozing with flavor. Wild asparagus is popular in the spring and truffles feature more strongly in autumn. Secondi (second course) will then follow, the Umbrian preference is for grilled meats. Rapidly grilled spatchcocked rabbit and guinea fowl remain favorites. Desserts do not feature strongly on the Umbrian menu, cheese is often the post dinner preference and you will find the option to dip them in oil or honey.

Meal times are usually later throughout the day (08:00-10:00 for breakfast; 13:30-15:30 for lunch; 20:00-22:00 for dinner).

Wine also has a strong history in this region. It has been produced in Umbria since Etruscan times, when vines were first planted. Possibly the most unusual wine of the region is the Vernaccia di Cannara, a desert wine which is unlike any other as it is red.

Classification: Self-Guided
Activity Level: 2 (Leisurely/moderate)
Average daily distance on move on days: 15.5km (9.8miles).
No. of days Walking: 4
Terrain: The paths you follow are generally waymarked and well maintained. As there are frequent ascents and descents, you need to be reasonably fit and confident.

Vehicle Support: This is a self-guided trip for those who prefer to walk independently, but with our assistance to take out the stress of the logistics and planning. We arrange your accommodations, provide you with a map and route notes so that you can walk at your own pace.

It is important that you are happy reading maps and following route notes, we make these as accurate as possible and they are regularly checked.

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There may be others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. The route notes contain a 24-hour emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the local representative is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

The walking is beautifully unhurried, retracing in part the trail St Francis took on his final visit to Assisi in 1226. It’s a rural route brimming with rare flora and fauna, passing through olive groves dating back to Roman times. Stroll along pilgrimage trails through centuries-old forest and sacred woodland that has for years been tended and cared for by the Franciscan monks.

You stay in beautiful medieval towns: Assisi ‘the town of St Francis’ with its UNESCO-listed basilica; pretty Spello, which lies on the other side of Mount Subasio from Assisi; Trevi, standing on its hill overlooking the plains of Campello; Poreta, a tiny village with a restored hilltop castle and church, and finishing in Spoleto – the town of the amphitheatre and aqueduct.

Overall Rating
5/5
Reviewed On 14/10/2019
4/5

Mr Harries

The whole holiday experience was very good. However these are a few issues which need to be addressed: 1.The eating place in Spello, which was booked for us by Glyn was unsatisfactory compared to the standard of the others during the holiday. 2. There was confusion at the hotel in Trevi regarding which courses we were entitled to on the menu, we suggest more transparency is required in this respect. 3. The final section of the walk into Spoleto was uninspiring, an alternative, which would compare with the excellent routes of the previous days’ walking would enhance the experience at the end of the week.

Reviewed On 26/09/2019
5/5

Mrs Clayton

The walking holiday was great. Walking 10 miles, in hot weather, was enough for us per day. The rest days in between were lovely. We would not have wanted to walk 10 miles every day, especially when hot - and when some tracks were rough surface and there is a good amount of uphill and downhill. Great route chosen. Good instructions. Lovely to often see almost nobody else walking all day. Saw a good amount of wildlife.

Reviewed On 25/09/2019
4/5

Mr Reeves

Challenging walking in the heat with lots of hills but very pretty part of Italy.

Reviewed On 12/09/2018
5/5

Mrs Mace

We really enjoyed this holiday as it meant that having every other day off it was alternately strenuous and relaxing. Without the days off it would be ac2 boot+. The wildflower meadows on the first day were fabulous and walks very easy to follow. We loved the hill top towns and would loved to have spent longer in Assisi. The rope pull on the last day is not as difficult as it sounds

Reviewed On 15/11/2017
4/5

Mr Cook

The Umbrian countryside was beautiful, walking through it well worth the effort (the hike was challenging, particularly given my age and the rather woeful state of my knees). I would strongly recommend doing this walk in the fall (mid-Sept to Oct.) when the temperature is moderate and the days likely to be sunny, as they were every day of the walk.

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