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June 16-24, 2019 Italy Pilgrimage from Rieti to Assisi

In the Footsteps of Saint Francis

JUNE 16 - 24, 2019

Cost

  • $2,549 Per Person, Double Occupancy
  • +$450 Per Person for Single Occupancy

Includes

  • 4-star accommodation*
  • English-speaking guides
  • Private air-conditioned transportation and 24/7 support vehicle
  • Meals as described in the itinerary, including local house wines on tap
  • Bilingual assistant guide

Excludes

  • Food and beverages
  • International flights
  • Travel Insurance
  • Passport fees
  • Personal effects/purchases

Note about flights...

We allow you to choose your own flights to keep our trip costs as low as possible. The earlier flights are purchased, the better! We recommend checking www.kayak.com, www.skyscanner.com, and www.google.com/flights/ for flight options.

*Some small villages don’t have 4-star hotels, in which case the next best accommodations will be arranged.

**The following itinerary is subject to change. Any adjustments will stay as close as possible to the original route.

About This Trip

This tour is designed for walking pilgrims with all levels of experience wishing to visit some of the most important sites connected with the life of St. Francis and seeking to enjoy the beauty of Umbria’s mountains, forests, faith traditions, food and culture.

It is one thing to visit Assisi; it is another to walk there following the paths traveled by St. Francis.

We will begin our walk in the Rieti valley, much beloved by St. Francis, visiting two of the four Franciscan shrines that adorn the surrounding Sabine mountains. Journeying towards Umbria for two days we will experience the smells, sights and tastes of Italian villages famous for their natural beauty, wild truffles and pork roasts.

On the fourth day we enter into the majestic city and ancient fortress of Spoleto through its ancient tower bridge. Famous for its culture, Spoleto is a UNESCO world heritage site and portal into the Assisi valley. During the next two days we walk through olive groves, vineyards and Umbrian medieval towns known for their distinctive architecture, history and art. We will arrive in Spello for the world renowned Infiorate, Festival of Flowers, which begins on the eve of the Corpus Christi feast.

On our last walking day we will follow a short trail to Assisi in time to enjoy the town known as the birthplace of St. Francis and one of the spiritual centers of the world. On our last night we travel to Rome and have the opportunity to enjoy a full day in the eternal city before your flight home.

"Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace..."

Walking Pilgrimage from Rieti to Assisi

Itinerary

Francis’ Enchanted Valley – Rieti
Where we visit: Rieti
Meals: Dinner
Meeting Location: Fiumicino International Airport (FCO)

Upon arrival at FCO, our representative will meet you for your private transfer to a hotel in Rieti. The town, encircled by a large medieval wall, is the capital of the Sabine region that St. Francis often visited. St. Dominic was canonized in Rieti, and it later became the capital of the Papal States. Trivia: It’s also where Kobe Bryant grew up! In the evening, the group will meet together for a welcome dinner at a traditional enoteca in the heart of Rieti.

Rieti – La Floresta (3.6 mi.) – Poggio Bustone (7.5 mi.)
Where we visit: Poggio Bustone
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

After breakfast, the pilgrimage will begin with a short 3.6 mile hike through forest trails to La Floesta, one of the four shrines established by St. Francis in the Rieti Valley. Here St. Francis spent time in prayer and composed his famous poem Laudato si’, the Canticle of Creatures.

From La Floresta we will walk 7.5 miles to the village of Poggio Bustone, the second of four shrines established by St. Francis. This medieval mountainside village is famous for hosting St. Francis’ kneecap as a relic, porchetta (Italian pork roast), and hang-gliding.

Poggio Bustone – Le Casette (6 mi.) – Piediluco (7.2 mi.)
Where we visit: Piediluco
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

In the morning, we make our way across the mountains through forest trails to the village of Le Casette. From Le Casette it’s another 7.2 miles to the village of Piediluco, on the border of Italian states Lazio and Umbria. Plus, the large Lago di Piediluco is the perfect place for a swim after a long days hike. We can also stop by the Basilica, dedicated to St. Francis, who often stayed in town on his journeys to Rieti and Rome.

Piediluco – Arrone (7.8 mi.) – Ceselli (9 mi.)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

In the morning, we leave Piediluco by following a mountain road in Marmore National Park towards Arrone. The more adventurous can walk an extra three hours to the Marmore Falls (or take our support vehicle). A collection of beautiful paintings rewards those who visit the Church of Santa Maria in Arrone. In the afternoon, we’ll arrive in the village of Ceselli, famous for its Umbrian truffles.

Ceselli – Spoleto (10.2 mi.)
Where we visit: Spoleto
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

After breakfast, we begin our walk on a forest trail that leads to the majestic fortress and town of Spoleto. Once checked into the hotel, you will be free to wander into the town center and explore or simply relax and reflecton your pilgrimage.

Those who opt to explore Spoleto will be treated to one of the more interesting towns along our route. A Roman colony, Spoleto was called “illustrious” by Cicero and became famous for repulsing an attack by Hannibal in 217 B.C.; a 1st century B.C. bridge still stands today. The town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and hosts a Roman amphitheater, palaces, theater, fortress and over ten churches with famous artwork. We will meet for
dinner in the ancient town center to sample its famous black truffle pasta and its own unique wine, Trebianno Spoletino.

Spoleto – Poreta (8.7) –Trevi (7.2)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

In the morning, we descend into the Assisi valley and walk alongside rolling Umbrian hills to the village of Poreta. Walking along, we’ll begin to notice vineyards and olive groves that produce renown Umbrian olive oil. Medieval-era stone walls greet us upon arrival to Trevi; these walls protected the town which was an important trading and commercial hub in the Middle Ages. Inside the town, several ancient churches and famous paintings by Perugino await your discovery.

Trevi – Foligno (7.8) – Spello (3.4)
Where we visit: Spello
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Olive groves line our path as we continue along the St. Francis Way towards Foligno, known as birthplace of the mystic Saint Angela of Foligno. From there, we’ll wind our way up to the town of Spello, arriving on the eve of the world-renowned Festival of Flowers, Infiorati. Join hundreds of visitors to witness the incredible art made from flowers and flower petals and witness Corpus Christi processions. You’ll have time to enjoy Spello’s numerous churches and their collections of beautiful artworks.

Spello – Assisi 6.9
Where we visit: Assisi
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

The final stretch! We’ll continue along Umbrian foothills, with the Basilica of St. Francis looming in our vision for the final few miles, encouraging us onward. The Basilica and its adjoining monastery are incredible works of art in themselves, ornately decorated by some of the master painters of the 13th century.

Construction of the church began following the canonization of the saint in 1228. Two years later, the mortal remains of St. Francis were laid to rest here. The light Upper Church is decorated in colorful frescoes by Giotto and his school, showing scenes from the life of St. Francis. The Lower Church, which houses the monumental tomb of the saint, contains frescoes by Cimabue, Pietro Lorenzetti, and Simone Martini. You will be free to move around the sanctuary at your leisure, to pray, and to visit the town.

After the visit to the Basilica we meet for a farewell lunch in Assisi. In the afternoon we will take a direct train back to Rome, and transfer to your hotel/or airport. Dinner is on your own in Rome and we overnight in Rome.

Rome
Meals: Breakfast

After breakfast your private transportation will take you to the airport. If you have a later fight or choose to stay in Rome you may visit the Eternal City at your own pace and leisure. We will arrange your complimentary airport ride whenever it is convenient for you.

Your Pilgrimage Guide

Ricardo Simmonds

Ricardo Simmonds is the Founder of Creatio and an international speaker on the environment. He is an experienced traveler and trip guide, having led numerous groups around the world. In 2016 he led a pilgrim group on foot from Rome to Poland for over two months. Ricardo speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian. When he is not guiding trips, Ricardo is an environmental policy consultant based in Boulder, Colorado.

Voluntary Donation

This all-inclusive Creatio pilgrimage is affordable yet comparable in quality with the best guided tours available.

We want to continue to offer this service to thousands more. Ricardo Simmonds, Creatio’s founder, is embarking on a fundraising campaign to make Creatio the leading national Catholic outdoor organization.

On the last day of the pilgrimage Ricardo will invite trip participants to pledge to become Creatio donors. Recommended pledges will range from $0, to $1000, $5000, $10,000 or more per family.

Donations are voluntary and anonymous, unless the donors wish to disclose them.