Tag Archives: Saint Francis

Arriving at Poreta

The next morning we woke up with a lot of confidence. We got up very early before the sun got too hot because we had braced ourselves for a difficult walk. We were able to maneuver ourselves out of the city on the ancient Via Flaminia however once again no markings. This is a Camino not to make if you don’t speak Italian. We were standing by the roadside so much perplexed. An Italian jogger came up and asked if he could help us we told him where we wanted to go. Then he said when go up to the house on the right, take a right climb way up go way down take a left on the street this is signed San Giacomo, turn left, go straight down the street and then when you come to the village go about 300 feet past the stoplight, take a right and that will take you into Poreta. So we continued to walk with confidence although we never saw a sign. When we got to the intersection about 2 hours later our jogger was there! We stopped at the village for coffee.

This is the village of San Giacomo.

Lovely church.

Beautiful piazza.

The interior of the village church. They were preparing for Confirmation.

Where we stopped for cappuccino. No one even attempts English so I am glad I know some italian.

Our first sighting of a marker when we arrived.

Multiple signs.

More signs.

Poreta.

This gives you some idea of the beauty that we have experienced.

We walked up the mountain from the valley below. This is no exaggeration; the guidebook was correct. It is difficult.

And a place for events. Today there was a baptismal party. We sat outside and some Italians would come over and initiate conversation in Italian. A test for me!

The family around the cake.

The entrance to our hotel. It was once a villa with a church; now a hotel and restaurant.

We walked from the valley up here to Poreta. It was a challenge. In many ways this Camino is one on which we have not accomplished what we set out to accomplish but in fact we have accomplished a lot more. I think having no map and getting lost has helped us experience the incredible hospitality of the Italian people, as we were having to change itinerary very quickly in the spontaneity of the moment.

The valley is so lush. It has been cultivated for thousands of years. The monks had a large role in this in the medieval period because of their care for creation through crop rotation and planting certain kinds of vegetation that replenish the nutrients in the soil. Because of good farming habits it continues to yield incredibly good produce. Now this is sustainability. That is to care for God’s creation so it can sustain more and more of God’s creatures, that is, the humans he has created in his own image. Saint Francis for the earth expressed his love for creatures.

On the other side of this hill is our next destination: Trevi

Dinner at Poreta.

Sunset.

Saint Francis in Gubbio

Because of our experience yesterday of getting lost both of us were apprehensive about proceeding into the mountains and into the forest without any assurance that we would stay on the right path so we made a decision that we would hop the bus to Gubbio and hope we could find someone with whom we could speak so we could get back on course.

As we were leaving the Reiti Valley for Gubbio I remembered that Francis was very fond of these people because they lead simple and humble lives. He would often go to rest and spend time in the valley where he would like to pray because it was very isolated and plain.

We arrived in Gubbio in the early afternoon and began our walk. Gubbio is a beautiful medieval city which is perched on the side of a mountain so the walk even in the city can be somewhat demanding.

Medieval city hall of Gubbio.

Interior of Gubbio cathedral.

There is a beautiful story of how Francis tamed the wolf that was terrorizing the people of Gubbio.

Facade of Saint John the Baptist in Gubbio.

The baptistery of Saint John.

 

The simple altar.

Remnant of medieval frescoes of Saint John.

About the church.

We were determined to accept the challenge of walking to the very top of the mountain where Saint Ubaldo had his hermitage. To give you an idea of the climb I have posted two pictures, one from the city looking up to the top of the mountain and the tower that looks like a speck from there, and a picture of the tower.

It took some time for the climb so we finished at about 8. After dinner we felt sure we would get the information we needed in the morning to continue our camino. We spent the next morning in Gubbio and explored St Francis Church. This is the first church built after the saint’s death.

The Spadalongo offered him asylum and refuge in the beginning of his ministry.

The Camino of Saint Francis: Day One

We arrived at the airport early in the morning and took the Leonardo Express airport train to the train station in central Rome. That was the last express transit of our day because we waited for three hours for a local train to Reiti.

Waiting for hours in Rome for our train connection.

We had difficulty finding the platform because it took us took us about 15 minutes to get the platform and they only posted 20 minutes before. The local train got us as far as Terni and then we had difficulty finding the platform. It was to the west of the station. Was it the express to Marrakesh? It had that hippie look with urban graffiti even covering the windows. The train looked like it was destined for the junkyard however much to our surprise there were four Filipino sisters getting on board with big boxes and yes they assured us this was the train to Rieti.

We finally arrived around 4pm and we were exhausted. We found our hotel the Miramonti and took off for our city walk.

Our hotel.

View from the hotel room.

Our first stop was the Basilica of Saint Augustine which dates from the 12th century.

There were remnants of 12th century frescoes.

We then took a walk outside the old city walls.

Entering the city again and began searching for the of umbilicus or navel which Italians consider the center of Italy.

We then discovered the Central Square with many folks enjoying the afternoon.

We then proceeded to cathedral which is a Romanesque structure with baroque overlay.

To the left of the cathedral was a monument to Saint Francis.

At the end of that square was a 12th century that was a papal residence.

The main altar.

The pulpit.

(Closeup of this altarpiece).

Saint Barbara. This was possibly designed by Bernini. If you enlarge the photo and look closely, you can see a cannon beneath her feet, as she is the patron saint of artillerymen, and of Rieti.

The crypt.

Of course, afternoon gelato.

For dinner we found a great restaurant, the Bacchus, and enjoyed a wonderful dinner with a lively conversation with the chef setting and the owner chef.