This convent was founded in 1026 by the Camaldolese monks and lies above the village Camaldoli. The Camaldolese are a branch, belonging to the Benedictines. The monks live partly in solitude, partly in community.
Francis rested in Eremo di Camaldoli when returning from a journey to the Middle East and probably inaugurated the church together with cardinal Hugolin in 1220.
The cell in which Francis spent a few months is the house on the left of the first row, if looked at from the fencing. It is still called „Francis' Cell“ and has a painting of Spagnoletto inside.
The convent itself was founded by Francis and is a widely known place of pilgrimage. There is a lot to see and to discover in La Verna, but some things stay hidden to the pilgrim's eye, like a letter from the time when Francis received his stigmata, written by brother Masseo, which is kept inside the convent.
Three altars made of terracotta by A. della Robia and the chapel Maggiore from the 14th century can be found inside the small church Santa Maria degli Angeli, which was built in 1216.
One can also visit the cell in which Francis stayed at the time when he received his stigmata on the mountain La Verna, also known as “Alverna”.
The path leading to Chiesa delle Stimmate (Chapel of stigmata) is painted with frescos.
Three saints lived here:
Francis, Anthony and Bonaventure.
Three vicious robbers lived here like saints.
Not few honourable brothers died here in the name of the Lord.
Hence: Fortunate, who lives in your house, oh Lord!
Commemorative plaque in Montecasale (Translation)
Sights in Gubbio:
What you should absolutely do:
Take the cable railway up to the Ubaldo-Basilica for a great view over the city and the region.
Santa Maria di Rivotorto (2 km beneath Assisi) was built in 1854 above a – restored – hut, in which Francis met with close friends to settle the rules of the order around 1208 or 1209. (Wikipedia, translated from German)
Church and former convent 20 minutes from Assisi (by foot). This place is firmly connected to not only St. Francis, but also St. Clare of Assisi (1194-1253) and is definitely worth visiting. This is where Jesus on the cross spoke to Francis: “Francis, go and put back up my house, which, as you can see, is dilapidated!”
When searching for solitude, Francis of Assisi, like many hermits before him, retreated to this grotto to pray in the 13th century. He was probably donated the chapel and the land surrounding it by the Benedictines. Francis retreated to this place in later years for praying and meditation. Francis is said to have preached to the birds sitting on the branches of and old oak tree by an old stone bridge, which is still standing there. (Wikipedia, translated from German)
The small chapel Portiunkula (latin: small speck of land, italian: porziuncola), where Francis died in 1288, has since been covered by a church of gigantic measurements. Its domes are visible throughout the valley of Umbria. This and two other churches were in ruins until Francis built them back up himself after having heard Jesus' voice from the cross in San Damiano.
The Basilica San Francesco is at the western border of the village of Assisi. This offside spot was once a place for executions and therefore called Colle d'inferno (hell's hill) in vernacular. This is where Francis wanted to be buried, as a referral to Jesus, who also found death in a place of capitation (Golgota), which was outside the city wall of Jerusalem.
The construction of the basilica was started in July in 1228, the same year that Francis was declared a saint by pope Gregory IX., who had ordered the construction of a tomb church and laid the ground stone himself on the 17th of July in 1228. (Wikipedia, translated from German)
Close to Montefalco, this convent is passed by the trail, but can unfortunately not be entered, only cloister and church are to be visited. It is a very humble convent, which is still in use today.
The convent of Monteluco can be visited on the hill, which is to be climbed after the roman aqueduct by Spoleto. Even the cells, in which the friars lived, can be seen.
The main square of the town, including the cathedral, can be found at the end of big sloping stairs. It is called Santa Maria Assunta and was built in 1175, after Barbarossa's men had destroyed the one that was standing in the same place before. The facade is not consistent, but the result of an expansion. It has all in all eight rose windows, which were needed for the illumination of the expanded interior. The middle rose originated in the early 12th century and is depicted as one of the most beautiful in all of Umbria in the literature. (Wikipedia, translated from German)
A letter by Francis, addressed to his collegiate friar Leo, is kept inside the cathedral.
The village Poggio Bustone, which is 756 meters above sea level, has been supported by documentary evidence since the late 12th century. Remaining are a Gothic arch, the so-called Porta Buon Giorno, and the Torre del Cassero, part of a castle, which is in very poor condition.
Every 4th of October, a musician with a kettledrum and the mayor go from house to house, shouting: “Good day to you, good men!”, to remind of Francis. Opening hours convent Poggio Bustone: 8AM-12AM and 2.30PM-6.30PM
A little off-road, the convent Stroncone offers to the visitor a pretty yard with a statue of Francis. It is still in use and not open for visitors, but the church can be visited.
This is where one thinks of a cold Christmas evening, to remember, when Francis had the vivid crib re-enacted in the convent Greccio. Here, he had Mary and Joseph, as well as Baby Jesus, the ox and the donkey put up, to relive the Christmas miracle on the spot.
Of course the convent was expanded, a church was built over the crib in honour of Francis, and inside the building is one of the world’s biggest crib exhibitions.
The very spectacularly placed convent Lo Speco halfway in Calvi dell'Umbria is the last sanctuary built by Francis himself. From here, one can see over the whole landscape and visit a cleft in the rock where Francis is said to have prayed sometimes.
The convent in is the middle of a fairytale-like wood on the edge of a hill, where one can retrace Francis' agony after the treatment he received for his ill eyes, which included burning his temples with a hot iron. The convent and the noon services can be visited.
– wooden cross in the square: 15th century
– a red rope can be found on a wall inside the chapel of St. Magdalena, probably put there by Francis himself
– interior, where the eye 'surgery' was performed
– models of the different expansions of the convent
Take time, to look at the convent garden, the crossroad, a painting of the praying Francis and the convent itself.