Pilgrimage Innsbruck-Rome Part 3
Francis WayAutor: Brigitte Wallner
von 12.05.2016 bis 25.05.2016
Day 1 – Modigliana – Marzanella – 19 km
We now begin the 3rd stage in the travel diary again with the first day on the Francis Way. For us, today is the 28th day of the pilgrimage to Rome.
Every morning we like to go out again; leave our accommodation and know that in the evening we will arrive again in another place.
We look back once again at the little town of Modigliana and continue on our way in good spirits. The day is entertaining. There is a lot to tell and we have a comfortable rest in the middle of the forest. The next few days we will be out in nature, leaving the National Park in La Verna.
Therefore, we may not always have internet connection. It is already rather difficult today.
We spend the night today in Rifugio Capannina; are greeted by 2 dogs barking loudly…. The landlords are friendly and we live family style with food in the middle of the forest,
Day 2 – Marzanella – Portico di Romagna – Premilcuore – 23 km
We bid a fond farewell to the kind landlady who hospitably hosted us. Also a ciao to our Italian pilgrim who spent the night with us.
A strong, fresh wind keeps us moving forward at a brisk pace. After 2 hours we arrive in the romantic little town of Portico di Romagna and take a break in a bar.
Again and again clouds move across the sky and in the afternoon we do not escape the rain showers. However, they remain within limits and we reach the small town of Premilcuore, where we will spend the night today.
Walking for days makes itself felt. Nadine is plagued by a corn and my right foot is also bothering me.
So it’s good that we don’t have too long stages so we don’t wear ourselves out. Finally, we have a few days ahead of us, and look forward to touring the Apennines.
Day 3 – Premilcuore – Bivaco Fratto – Corniolo – 20 km
The ascent through the forest, in total 600 meters of altitude, we pass in the rain. The path is wet, slippery and it requires mindful walking.
At 1077 m we reach a forest road and soon even the sun shows up. We take advantage of the time and stop at 12 o’clock to dry our ponchos.
The rest of the day the weather god is merciful and we arrive dry in Corniolo.
After visiting the church we meet Francesca, who gives us the pilgrim’s stamp before we go to the Albergo da Gigino.
We are warmly welcomed and look forward to dinner, which is particularly praised in the pilgrimage guide.
Once again we arrived safely and are grateful that everything went well,
Day 4 – Corniolo – Campigna – Passo Calla – Poggio Scali – Camaldoli – 28 km
For Heimo’s birthday today we gave him the real king stage.
Today’s tour was 28 km long, with 1230 meters of altitude up and 1000 meters down the most strenuous hike with 44,000 steps of the whole pilgrimage. We started early and had good weather during the climbs. At Passo Calla, at 1300 meters above sea level, we leave Emilia Romagna and enter Tuscany. After a good hour we reach the highest point of the entire pilgrimage route, Poggio Scali at 1530 meters.
From there we have a magnificent view and on a clear day you can see the sea and Rimini.
Today, however, this is not possible. We sit down to eat our snack. An ominous dark cloud makes us break off after 10 minutes and move on. In no time the rain is here and the last 3 hours we bravely stride on. In the nice Albergo in Camaldoli we arrive after 8 hours soaked and chilled.
With a sip of Enzner Schnapps we protect ourselves from a chill, and send our warmest greetings to all Galtürers, especially Zimalis Frieda, Nona and Gota.
Day 5 – Camaldoli – Bada Prataglia – Rimbocchi – Biforco – 21.5 km
Today’s stage takes us further through the national park and again with 1000 meters of altitude. The weather is unstable. We leave at 5 degrees and cool wind. The paths are wet and slippery, but we arrive dry at 16:00.
There are many wild boars in the woods and we are lucky. In front of us on the hiking trail there are about 10 newcomers. A little later we see a group of about 25 running across a clearing. To capture them photographically, they were too fast.
The very old chapel that we have inside today as a recording has a special atmosphere. The pilgrimage guide says that St. Francis prayed in it. It is a special place.
We spend the night today in a refugio and together with us again the Italian pilgrim we meet again.
Day 6 – Biforco – La Verna – 8 km
We leave from Biforco at 7:15 a.m. for a late breakfast at the monastery of La Verna.
The ascent takes place in cool temperatures and lets and progress well. But at the beginning it is called shoes off. The stream carries too much water and we wade barefoot through the cold water; pinch at the beginning of the day.
The paths are soaked from the rain and sometimes it becomes a real slide. Especially just before the monastery in the old, mystical forest where Francis stayed with his Friars Minor, it becomes difficult to tread the wet, loamy forest floor. We can hardly imagine how the brothers used to walk with their sandals. Our shoes and pants look pretty dirty. The forest is beautiful and radiates peace and quiet.
We are rewarded by a large monastery complex with a wonderful view, with the basilica, several chapels, including the Stigmata Chapel, prayer place of Francis and much more. We decide to stay at La Verna today and take time for this spiritual place.
In Albergo Letizia we get good pasta, a clean room and we can clean ourselves and our pilgrim clothes before continuing tomorrow.
Day 7 – La Verna – Eremo Casella – Caprese Michelangelo – 18 km
We leave La Verna in the sunny morning and climb up a beautiful trail towards Eremo della Casella. We keep looking back and have a wonderful view of the village of La Verna and the monastery that sits loftily above.
After 2.5 hours we reach the Casella hermitage, which invites us to take a rest. The church and hermitage are open and we imagine how St. Francis was here.
The path is idyllic. We meet a local couple who are looking for mushrooms.
So we enjoy walking, since no rain is predicted today, and take our time.
On a forest road we go downhill for a long time, finally arriving at Caprese Michelangelo, our stage destination today.
Here is the birthplace from the 14th century. of the great artist and a museum.
We end the day enjoying the view of the Tuscan hills and mountains.
Day 8 – Caprese Michelangelo – Monte Fungaia – Palazzone – Sansepolcro – 25 km
We enjoy the hike through the Tuscan hills and go up one more mountain, Monte Fungaia, 660 meters high.
All of a sudden we hear a squeak at the side of the road in a ditch and can’t place it. Until we look into two frightened eyes of a still very small fawn. A few meters further we see 3 big deer at the edge of the forest and hope that the fawn will find its way back to its mother.
We arrive at the Montedoglio reservoir. Here begins the Tiber Valley with the Tiber River.
The landscape becomes wide and the last 8 kilometers we go flat always straight to the small town of Sansepolcro, our stage destination today. The rain poncho is also today companion again. Again and again, showers pass over our heads.
We meet new pilgrims every day for 3 days. A small group of 5 Austrians keep coming across us, and today on the way we chat briefly with a couple from Australia who also want to make the pilgrimage to Rome. They were accompanied by an Englishman.
After the silent days in the mountains, we slowly get used to civilization again.
Day 9 – Sansepolcro – Citta’ di Castello – 29 km
Today it comes differently than we had intended.
Last night a thunderstorm, heavy rain in the evening and during the night, bring a lot of wetness in the landscape.
We start at 8.00 am, shortly after we put on our rain poncho again and set off for the hermitage of Montecasale. The path is slippery and wet. We walk carefully, nevertheless I slip and get up again unhurt, but accordingly dirty.
Shortly before we want to climb to the hermitage, where 3 Capuchin friars still live, a pilgrim from England comes to meet us. He advises us not to climb up, because the path is very slippery. Since it is still raining and the prospect of improvement is not in sight, we decide to abort.
We go back on the road to Sansepolcro and take the rest of the day to rest , Since there is no bus in the next 3 hours we take a cab, go to Citta’ di Castello and take lodging in a nice hotel. How good does a sauna after all the wet and cool weather.
Tomorrow it should be better, and there we want to complete the stage to Pietralunga with 31 km.
Day 10 – Citta’ di Castello – Molino der Sasso – Candeggio – Pieve de Saddi – Pietralunga – 31 km
A wonderful day of pilgrimage comes to an end and we sit tired and happy in the bar.
The route was long at 31 km, but we enjoyed the day. The landscape of Umbria with the rolling hills in the rich, different shades of green, with the forests, meadows and idyllically situated farms, make us pause again and again.
The sunny day does us good, and we can once again rest in peace at noon, and do not have to watch the sky for dark clouds.
But the stage is long and we continue our journey towards Pietralunga, the destination of our day.
The small medieval town welcomes us with a charming old town and friendly people.
Tomorrow we have a longer stage ahead of us, but at the finish one of the most beautiful cities in Italy, Gubbio, awaits us.
Day 11 – Pietralunga – San Benedetto – Montecchio – Raggio – Gubbio – 27 km
We have a faithful companion on our pilgrimage. The call of the cuckoo accompanies us from the first day. We are happy when we hear him and in our minds we nod to him and say, good to hear you.
Today’s stage takes us through a beautiful oak forest mixed with sturdy beech trees. The forest provides shade and the path is nice to walk.
After several kilometers of walking in the sunshine and birdsong, the wide valley floor of Gubbio opens up.
We marvel once again at the harmonious, fertile landscape of Umbria and walk the last 7 kilometers flat into the city.
Here we celebrate today. Many people are on the road, the young people wear traditional dress, and it is loud and fun with the Itlaienern.
Once we’ve washed off our pilgrim dust, we’ll tour the town, ending the day with dinner and wine.
Day 12 – Gubbio – Agriturismo Valdichiascio – 11 km
If you come to Gubbio on a weekend in May, you can participate in a great festival. The houses were decorated with flags and the streets were full of happy people. The party lasted until 5 o’clock in the morning. We could hear music and laughter and much merriment until the morning hours.
We didn’t mind. Finally, we had a short stage to walk today, could sleep longer and enjoy extensively the extensive breakfast of the Albergo. Even honey with combs full of propolis were at the buffet. The first soft egg in days tasted delicious.
The tour from Gubbio to Valfabricca is 33 km long and we split it into 2 stages.
So today we went relaxed 11 km to a cozy agritourismo and do the remaining 22 km morning.
We unpacked the rain poncho today prophylactically. We were lucky. The rain was only pelting down from the sky when we checked in with the nice landlady.
The day after tomorrow we will arrive in Assisi and with that the Francis Way ends and our destination Rome becomes more and more tangible.
Today we want to send a special greeting to all Brucker and to our pastor Dr. Weihrauch.
Day 13 – Agriturismo Valdichiascio – Valfabbrica – 20 km
Agriturismo are private room rentals on the farm and in the countryside. We have had only good experiences in these accommodations,
The landlords are hospitable, the rooms are lovingly furnished, the heating is turned up for the chilled-out, wet pilgrim and the food is good.
Yesterday we had a cozy evening together with 5 other pilgrims. The landlady cooked Umbrian dishes with truffles , there was house wine and at the end she served us a delicious nut brandy or grappa.
I don’t really want to write about the weather anymore, but it does play a role in pilgrimage. Even if they say the pilgrim goes in any weather. We had a heavy thunderstorm with heavy downpours during the night, and were glad to be in our warm beds.
On today’s stage the paths were accordingly wet and slippery and we arrived once again quite dirty at the Ostello Francescano.
Today we did not follow the Francis signpost, and the path that our pilgrimage guide prescribes was no longer there. Heimo then used GPS to find a road that was being rebuilt but was completely abandoned. It became adventurous. We walked across a marked reservoir, which is abandoned, and after 1.5 hours we rejoined the Francis Trail. Good that we had the experienced guide Heimo with us.
Day 14 – Valfabbrica – Assisi – 13 km
On the 41st day of our pilgrimage we arrive in Assisi, the world-renowned pilgrimage site of St. Francis. The path leads from Valfabbrica up a hill to the cemetery of S. Nicolo and soon we see from a distance the Basilica of San Francesco.
A wonderful forest path leads us at the end directly to the church, past the peace bell, donated by Bavaria for the 4 great world religions.
Assisi has 30,000 inhabitants and 5 million visitors per year.
We are lucky when we arrive at the Basilica at 12:00. There are few people around.
Then there is great reunion joy with Angelika, who arrived by car with her friend Reingard.
Before going to Mass at 6:00 p.m., celebrated especially for pilgrims, we will receive the pilgrim stamp of Assisi and the pilgrim certificate for the Francis Way.
This is the end of the stage of the St. Francis Way, which has demanded a lot of us. We start tomorrow with the last section of our tour, with the Rome Way, which will take us in 12 stages and 250 km to the destination of our trip.