From Monteverde to Monte delle Cerque: on the trail of St. Francis to Valfabbrica Print

This is a series of itineraries inspired by the path taken by St. Francis in 1207, when, following his public spoliation in the main square of Assisi, he left his home to reach Gubbio. This is an opportunity to walk along a path, in the wilderness, nestled amidst the typical woods of Umbria: over 40 kilometres divided into different paths to enjoy on foot, by bicycle or on horseback. All this is complemented by a gratifying landscape, the same seen by St. Frances, an observant and profound admirer of nature, which he considered a reflection of the face of God.

From Monteverde, a small village high in the hills overlooking the landscape towards the hills of Perugia and the Martani mountain range, you can set off on an easy but captivating walk amidst the typical, green pre-mountainous area of Umbria.

From Perugia, drive to Valfabbrica (on highway SS. 318) and, from here, follow the signs for Coccorano-Monteverde. After an uphill climb of about 10 km to Monteverde, park the car and continue on foot. After parking the car inside the village, walk about 100 metres in the direction of Coccorano, following the main road along a dense Pinus nigra (black pine) pine forest, on the left.

At the first junction, turn into a slightly downhill road on the left, passng the main road on your right. After passing a farmhouse on the left, about 60 meters from the aforementioned junction, continue to follow the main road which, after a bend to the right, starts to climb gradually, taking us towards the "Monte delle Cerque".

After about 1.5 km, near yet another farmhouse on the left, we arrive at an intersection where, ignoring the dirt road on the left and also the one on the right, we come to an unpaved road, also on the right, that seems to take us back the way we have come from, but, in fact, it is the dirt road that climbs gently to the clearing of the “Monte delle Cerque”.Again, taking the dirt road, we leave the nearby village of Fratticiola Selvatica behind us. On the left, below us is the valley of the Chiascio river, with the relative reservoir well visible and extending towards the horizon, where we can see the compact Apennine chain of Umbria-Marche, and on the right, in the foreground, are the hills of Perugia and the Monti Martani. This part of the trail is particularly striking, in both autumn and winter. In fact, at sunset on especially clear days, the sun outlines the hills of Perugia and Perugia itself with unusual definition. The vegetation here is typical cold lauretum. In fact, the action of the strong winds in these areas is apparent on the trees and shrubs. These are Quercus cerris (certo), Quercus pubescens (downy), Juniperus communis and oxicedrus (Juniper) and, because of the winds, the tree cannot grow to more than 10 metres in height and the shrubs not more than 1 metre.After walking uphill for about 200 metres and after crossing a young oak forest, we arrive at a panoramic clearing of exceptional beauty. During the summer, not surprisingly, this place is used for spotting forest fires. On the horizon, from north to south-east, you can see the entire Umbria-Marche Apennine chain and in a north-north-east direction, Mount Cucco is clearly visible, while the peak of Mount Vettore can be seen in the east-south-east direction.  Closer to home (south-east) you can see the impressive Mount Subasio.

Paying particular attention in the warmer periods, from here you can walk aong the many paths of the Monte delle Cerque mountain. If you are lucky and if you have a good pair of binoculars, you may be able to see the numerous birds of prey in flight: Buzzards, Kestrels, Kites and Red Kites.  Back at the panoramic clearing, with the path that brought us hear behind us, we will find a large, pebbly muletrack going downhill. Following this path, after about 150 m we will find ourselves back at the main road (Valfabbrica-Monteverde) in the locality of C. Spinella. From here, we proceed to the right and after about 2.5 km we are back at the pretty little village of Monteverde.

TIME: 2.5 hours including stops.

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