Magical Forests and The Favorite Mountain Top Retreat of St Francis

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Badia Prataglia to Santuario della Verna


Elevation Gain: 1724, Elevation Loss: 1849

20.1 kilometers, 12.5 miles

We are walking to Over There!!

Today we actually transported by van to the beginning of our trailhead. We set out for what turned out to be my favorite day so far, truly a walk in the woods. More beech trees and it was simply magical amidst the dappled sun and moss covered boulders! Undulating ups and downs, not too many tough ones and a pleasant lunch in a clearing. There were several portions of extremely rocky descent that were tiring mentally and physically.

Our lodging was at Santuario Della Verna, one of St. Francis’ favorite places to stay. We had a brief time to clean up before meeting for a specially arranged tour into areas of the monastery that are usually not available to the public. We were even greeted by the mayor of the nearby village of Chiusi della Verna! Sandy Brown has some connections that allowed this wonderful opportunity for us.

It was quite amazing to enjoy the lovely grottoes and small sanctuaries. From Sandy Brown’s guidebook: “Santuario della Verna is widely considered one of the most holy and spiritual places in all of Italy. Among the ancient trees and rocky crags on the south side of Mt Penna (1128m) it is easy to imagine Saint Francis in deep meditation or quiet prayer. La Verna’s remote location has allowed it to retain much of the same character as when Saint Francis walked it’s paths 800 years ago.”

“ It was here, in the autumn of 1214, that Francis discovered sharp, nail-like protrusions on his hands and an open wound on his side. He shared the existence of these ‘stigmata’ with only his closest friends. At the examination of his body at his death at Santa maria degli Angeli in Assisi in 1226, more than a dozen sworn witnesses confirmed the presence of these marks of the crucifixion.”

We were able to see the terra cotta bas-relief sculptures by the 15th century sculptor, Andrea della Robbia, as well as a series of large murals depicting the life of Francis. We went into the 13th century Chapel of the Stigmata which includes another terra cotta by Robbia, as well as a memorial were the miracle is said to have happened.

Sandy Brown

We then joined Mass and prayer before our dinner of soup, salad, cured meats and fruits. Another Long Day!!!
I see that I have exceeded my media availability for photos on this blog site, so I have to figure that out – it may be that I won’t be posting for a few days. I also have very little free time to do so! So know that I am keeping a diary and at some point in time I will post!

2 responses to “Magical Forests and The Favorite Mountain Top Retreat of St Francis”

  1. Thank you. So enjoyable and infirmative

    1. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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