Morning: Sanctuary of La Verna and the mountain of St. Francis
The Franciscan Sanctuary of La Verna, placed a few kilometres from Chiusi della Verna ( Ar) , is famous for being the place where St. Francis of Assisi received the stigmata on September 17, 1224 . Built in the southern part of Mount Penna at 1128 meters above sea level , the sanctuary has several chapels and places of prayer and meditation , as well as several points of great religious importance. In fact, La Verna has become a place of spirituality, immersed in a mystical and fascinating environment, created in part by the Franciscan friars through the architecture and the art of the convent, but mostly by the natural pre-existing , by the particular rocky mountain and the beautiful nature that surrounds it. The shape of the Sacred Sasso La Verna , a sort of large “tooth” on the Apennine knife-edge, appears to be unique across the entire valley of the Casentino. Once you get near, the more fascinating will appear the height of the cliff on which was built the Franciscan Sanctuary . And the so-called reef of the Stigmata .
This rocky “tooth” rises from the magnificent forests of beech trees and fir-trees that surround the sanctuary and join us in beautiful walks. The most beautiful and visited is certainly the ascent to Pen, the peak of the mountain. From here you have a spectacular view over the whole Romagna .
From Verna can be observed dramatic natural masterpieces : the sculptural roots of the majestic beech trees that cling to the ground, but especially the rocks.
In a few lines is not possible to describe a place like La Verna, and to communicate its mysticism , its charm , its complexity and the beauty of its architecture , the refinement of its works of art, and the incredible views that it can offer .
« Io ho in Toscana uno monte divotissimo il quale si chiama monte della Vernia, lo quale è molto solitario e salvatico ed è troppo bene atto a chi volesse fare penitenza, in luogo rimosso dalle gente, o a chi desidera fare vita solitaria. S’egli ti piacesse, volentieri Io ti donerei a te e a’ tuoi compagni per salute dell’anima mia. » (Conte Orlando di Chiusi della Verna.)
Afternoon : visit to Sansepolcro
Coming from the north or south, the towers of St. Francis Church and the Abbey, the current cathedral, welcome the visitor who immediately has an image in the architecture painted by Piero della Francesca in his works. The town of Sansepolcro , developed around a large Benedictine abbey has preserved almost intact its medieval past and, over the centuries, has been enriched with fine Renaissance and Baroque buildings . It is the Birthplace of Piero della Francesca and the Museum preserves the memory of this biturgense master. Works such as the Resurrection, complex and symbolic, the Polyptych of Mercy, St. Julian and St. Louis show the genius of the artist of the early Renaissance . In the Cathedral, of considerable interest is the “Holy Face” , a wooden crucifix of the Carolingian period . Next to the Cathedral there is the Palace of Lauds , in Mannerism form , and now it has become the town hall . Other artistic heritages of the city are available through the old town : the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie Church of San Francesco. Do not miss a visit to the Church of San Lorenzo which houses has a table depicting the Deposition by Rosso Fiorentino. In the heart of the old town is the Piazza Torre di Berta , in which, on the second Sunday of September takes place the traditional Palio della Balestra – the costumes worn by the actors are inspired by the paintings of Piero della Francesca.