Identifying colour on map: blue
From Anghiari to Cortona, in the footsteps of Francis of Assisi
Number of stages: 4
Total distance: 83.9 km
Difficulty: Hiking trail (all stages)
Among the many attractions to visit in Arezzo, from Piazza Grande to the Cathedral of Saints Donato and Pietro, the Basilica of San Francesco stands out. Inspired in its simplicity by Franciscan aesthetics, it is home to a cycle of frescoes by Piero della Francesca narrating the Legend of the True Cross.
At the end of the third stage we reach the Parish Church in Sassaia, dedicated to Saints Quirico and Giulitta, dominating the surrounding valley. The building dates back to the eleventh century and is now a hostel for pilgrims.
From the Parish Church, the last stage takes pilgrims to Cortona, passing through the village of Castiglion Fiorentino that's surrounded by almost intact medieval walls and features a Cassero (bridgehouse) and the majestic Montecchio Vesponi Castle.
Before arriving in Cortona, however, the journey stops at the historic Franciscan Hermitage Le Celle, founded in the thirteenth century by Francis himself. Even today, the Hermitage is a special place located in an inlet of Mount Sant'Egidio, an ideal place to find serenity and peace.
Cortona, the final destination of this itinerary, also boasts several places linked to the life of St. Francis of Assisi, such as the Basilica of Santa Margherita, flanked by a historic Franciscan convent, and the Church of San Francesco.
Pilgrims interested in continuing the journey from Cortona towards Assisi can follow the route of the ancient Via Lauretana.