The program will focus on creating an environment for reflection in order to deepen your connection with God. This retreat is open to people of every demographic. A typical day will look like this:
Morning: Pilgrims usually rise shortly after daybreak to enjoy the crisp morning air. We will begin the day with a short facilitated meditation on the inspirational theme for the day followed by an orientation for the hike ahead. Breakfast will then be on your own, based on your own needs and desired departure time. The morning will be spent walking, with rests and lunch along the way.
Afternoon: After walking 4-6 hours (averaging 25 km each day), you will arrive at your overnight destination sometime in early to mid-afternoon. Everyone is permitted to walk at their own pace, with or without a companion. Afternoons will be spent showering, resting, journaling or doing laundry. Before dinner, you will have the opportunity to debrief the day with the group over drinks, if desired.
Evening: You may choose to eat dinner with our cohort, a smaller group, or on your own. Dinner in Italy is typically much later than in other countries (around 9pm). However, due to the rigorous exercise of the pilgrimage, we will aim to arrange dinner between 7-8 pm. Afterward, there will be an optional brief meditation before bedtime.
The program above describes a typical day and the opportunities that will be available to you. While we hope you will participate in some of the group sessions to enrich the experience of others, it is not required because we realize that every person’s pilgrimage is unique. Each person comes with different questions, hopes and needs. We want to respect and honor where each person is at. The intent of the program is to provide a basic rhythm that pilgrims can follow as desired.
St Francis Way – Florence to Rome
After arriving in Florence and transferring to La Verna, you will begin to follow Francis’ footsteps through the green heart of Italy to the sites touched and loved by the saint himself, such as the area of La Verna (where he received “the stigmata”), and Assisi (where he was born and died). You’ll see his legacy first-hand in the Franciscan hermitages and chapels as you walk through the Tuscan and Umbrian landscapes of shady forests, orchards, olive groves and fields of barley.
This spectacular walking trail inspired by the life of Saint Francis is recommended for experienced walkers since the mountainous terrain makes certain sections quite challenging. It is best for people who are in average or above average shape. It follows an ancient Roman road for over 400 kilometers but you will be deeply rewarded with peaceful countryside and areas of stunning natural beauty. Every day has an extraordinary vista of mountains, valleys, lakes or charming hill towns with fascinating history and culture. Bring an appetite for legendary traditional recipes.
Rome is a wonderful place to visit, but nothing compares to the feeling of walking there. Few joys compare with the feeling of accomplishment when you are finally handed your pilgrim “testimonium” – the completion certificate – inside the Vatican walls.