UMBRIA ON FOOT
The most natural way to visit Umbria
Strolling, hiking and trekking in Umbria means walking the paths of art, nature and history. The routes can be short, as evocative strolls within everyone’s reach, including children; but tours of a certain length and commitment are also available.
Those who choose walking through the valley that runs between Assisi and Spoleto will experience the old houses and quiet streets, the hills between the olive trees, the isolated churches and villages rich in history.
Terra dei Santi Country Cottage B&B is located at the centre of this valley allowing you to take many trails; shorter or longer in duration, flat or hilly, and therefore adapted to the needs of those who want to immerse themselves in the green countryside, enjoying nature without giving up on history, admiring the archaeological remains of the ancient past; or those who would like to penetrate into the hills and olive groves of Mount Subasio, in order to feel the peace of the Franciscan atmosphere, getting to Assisi.
Sentiero degli Ulivi from Spello to Assisi
This is a short and low-gradient route within everyone’s reach.
The round-trip, departing from our complex is about 20 kilometres.
It runs along one of the most evocative and renowned areas of Umbria, where the historic and artistic beauty of Spello and Assisi are blended with the nature, offering fascinating landscapes among the olive groves on the hillside of Mount Subasio and panoramic views over the plain and valley going from Perugia to Foligno.
From our complex you can reach upper Spello, the tour starts at Porta Montanara and goes through Via Poeta, keep left and about 300 meters turn right into Via degli Ulivi. This is one of the most beautiful parts of the route, walking the road that cuts across the hillside of the Subasio and runs through the olive groves. After about 3 kilometres you will find an intersection where you should continue straight to Capodacqua.
To return, at the 9,8 kilometre turn left after leaving a large car park to your right hand side, and head downhill towards San Damiano and Rivotorto; keep going down until you get to the intersection with the main road. At the intersection, if you turn left, after about 400 meters you will reach the church of Rivotorto, a very famous Franciscan building, where the Tugurio (one of the first dwellings of Saint Francis) is kept. Rivotorto’s Sanctuary is defined as the cradle of the Franciscan Fraternity, in fact, Saint Francis dictated the first rule there, which was later approved by Pope Innocent III in 1209.
Leaving Rivotorto again, through the main road that runs along the four-lane, towards Spello-Foligno, passing through the towns of Capodacqua and Capitan Loreto, reaching Villa Fidelia, a magnificent building that dates back to the sixteenth century and is enriched by a beautiful 18th-century Italian-style garden.
After about 1 kilometre you will reach Spello Borgo, arriving at San Ventura square, then, after crossing the Urbica door, turn right, towards Limiti. After about 800 meters, always heading to Limiti, you will find Terra dei Santi Country Cottage B&B.
Those who want to shorten the route, always starting from Porta Montanara in upper Spello and taking the olive grove path, may go down to the village of Rivotorto after passing the town of Capodacqua and take the road that runs along the E75 towards Spello – Foligno, in order to return to the Cottage Houses, visiting those places of interest they encounter along the way.
Trail of the Roman aqueduct of Spello
This route is within everyone’s reach, due to its short duration and low-gradient (there is only a short drop during the last stretch).
The round-trip is about 13 kilometres, taking off from our complex.
It is necessary to get to upper Spello from Terra dei Santi Country Cottage, to Porta Montara to be more accurate, as the trail takes off a few meters from this gate at the beginning of the county road that leads to the hamlet of Collepino from Spello.
Leaving from Porta Montanara, go through Via Poeta for about 60 meters and then turn right at the intersection into Via Bulgarella; after 100 meters, you will get to a spring, follow the paved lane that runs through the olive groves and ends up in a crossroads and then take the olive grove path calles Sentiero degli Ulivi, leaving the paved lane behind and keep to the right, under the wall of the aqueduct.
This wonderful route goes through a charming landscape, shaped by history and nature; it winds through the olive groves and among Mediterranean aromatic herbs and shrubs at intervals, and during most of the way you will be able to gaze at the gorgeous Roman aqueduct.
Offering breathtaking views of Spello, the valley turns towards Foligno and the Appenine hills. Actually, the benches become points of greatest interest, allowing you to take breaks at the same time that you enjoy the beauty of the different sceneries.
Along the trail there are also message boards containing historical and touristic information about the aqueduct and several famous quotes engraved on stones, providing you with some food for thought about your existence as well as your everyday life.
Assisi and Saint Francis
Assisi means Saint Francis, the beginning of an extraordinary religious and human experience that made this town a capital of spirituality and peace.
The old town centre preserves a medieval look, enhanced by Roman elements. The Town Hall square, despite recent interventions, conserves some of the oldest monuments in town: the Capitano del Popolo palace and the Town hall (XII- XVI Cent.), the pagan Temple of Minerva (from the Roman Imperial Period) and the aedicule, that recalls the ancient church of San Nicolò, where Saint Francis led Bernard of Quintavalle and Peter of Catanio to hear the Gospel reading that convinced them to follow the new ideal of poverty.
San Giorgio square is nearby, the place where Bernard, Peter and Sylvester embraced the path of poverty, to go ‘behind the groom’.
The Town Hall square and also Santa Chiara square (right at the intersection with San Giorgio’s one) recall the beginning of the Franciscan order too, therefore they remain as two important Franciscan sanctuaries.
A few hundred meters further down, within the District of San Gregorio (nowadays Via Bernardo di Quintavalle) you will find the house of a famous and wealthy merchant called Bernard, who invited Francis into his house and then, witnessing the joy that he spread in prayer, decided to sell out all of his belongings and follow him.
Those tourists visiting Assisi should not miss the Cathedral of San Rufino that preserves the font where Saint Francis and Saint Clare were baptized, neither the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, a building that Saint Francis himself helped restoring, or the nearby Bishopric, where you could visit the Room of the Throne, in which the trial of Bernard against his own son was held.
Saint Francis’ tomb and Basilica are also located in Assisi.
Saint Francis passed away (October 3, 1226) at the little church of Porziuncola. His remains lie in the Church of San Giorgio, the place where Francis, as a boy, obtained his first instruction, where he returned to preach and where later on the monastery and the Basilica of Saint Clare were erected.
Two years later on July 16, Pope Gregory IX went to Assisi for the preliminaries of canonization of Saint Francis; and on July 17, the same pontiff blessed the first stone of the new building, which was supposed to be erected in order to safeguard the body of the Saint. On May 25, 1230; although the building was not yet finished, they transferred the precious relics from the church of San Giorgio to the new church. The works of the Basilica and the convent went on for at least three more centuries, giving us this monumental complex that is a stronghold, not only of the Franciscan Order, but also of faith and art.
The parental home of the Saint, nowadays Nova Church, is just a short walk from the Town Hall square, hidden behind imposing buildings. This was the place where Francis lived his childhood and adolescence into the elegance, refinement and prodigality typical of the lavish feasts, where he spent a long convalescence once he fell ill, and then walked toward a new life, which led him to leave his father’s house for good.
The basement where Peter Bernardone locked his son after he escaped to Foligno to sell fabrics in order to repair San Damiano is in Nova church, also the warehouse where the young Francis helped his father in the exercise of trade.
At Assisi we walk the footsteps of Saint Francis but also those of the people who joined most closely their own experience to his personal history. Saint Clare deserves a special place among these people; she was the daughter of Favarone Offreduccio and left his father’s house when she turned eighteen, in order to found the second Franciscan Order.
Her life is remembered at San Damiano, the place where she spent more than forty years of reclusion and holiness, and where her glory is sung over centuries by her tomb, in the basilica that was erected in her honour, right after the death.
Those who love Francis, Patron of Italy, and would like to visit the places he made famous over the centuries while staying at Terra dei Santi Bed and Breakfast, can easily reach Assisi by any means, in no time and at the same time immerse themselves in a world of stillness, tranquillity and peace. The hospitality and homely ambient, the well-thought out furnishings and the tranquillity of the garden, make Terra dei Santi B&B an ideal location for those who would like to visit the Franciscan sites and admire the beauty of Umbria.