10° leg alternative: Foligno – Assisi – hiking (South itinerary)

Stage description

Departure: Foligno
Arrival: Assisi
Distance: 22 km
Ascent from Departure: + 1080 m
Descent from Departure: – 874 m
Difficulty: difficult
Terrain: gravel & asphalt road; trail
Length: 7 hours
Potable Water: yes (Spello, Eremo delle Carceri)
Rest Stops: yes
Signage: yes (vertical and horizontal yellow & blue)

Exit Spello through Porta Montanara (km 7.2), continuing along Via Poeta. At the crossroads, turn right onto Via Bulgarella. After the water fountain (fill your canteen here), climb to the left along the unpaved road. A long climb with some steep stretches starts here, so maintain a slow “pilgrim” pace. The route is well-marked and continues along an unpaved road through olive groves (be careful of the sun). After the Roman aqueduct (km 7.5), continue along the tractor track, ignoring the crossroads. After about 1 kilometer, turn left (km 8.4) along a short, rocky stretch. Pick up the wide tractor track again after about 800 meters, which leads into the shady vegetation of the Parco del Monte Subasio. Continue along the well-marked route through the greenery. At the clearing (km 10), take advantage of the benches to rest before continuing on the steep climb. The trail continues, with some short ascents and descents. After about 500 meters downhill, there will be a crossroads; the Way continues along the trail CAI 56a, which widens into an easy mule track. At the curve (km 12.1), the track continues to the left, but the route of the Way climbs to the right along a trail, then turns left. A steep climb begins here, which is slippery when wet (use caution). After about 800 meters, the climb ends and the trail levels out towards the left. Shortly, you will reach a rocky cliff looking out over the valley–called Sasso Rosso (km 13.3)—which offers one of the most beautiful views along the route and is a just reward for your efforts. Continue along the trail, which soon joins the asphalt road downhill. Pass the Abbazia di San Benedetto Vecchio (km 14.3), continuing downhill along the asphalt road, which alternates with gravel in certain stretches and has a series of easy ascents and descents. After the shrine adorned with the image of Saint Francis, take the easy climb to the asphalt road, where you will descend to the Eremo delle Carceri (km 17.5). Your arrival by foot here will give you a taste of the joy that awaits you at the Basilica. From the hermitage, climb toward the parking lot to a picnic area called Le Mandrie. You will begin a descent of about 2 kilometers, which skirts the Rocca Minore di Assisi, or Rocchicciola, and brings you to Porta Perlici (km 20.5). At Piazza Matteotti, cross Assisi’s Medieval streets: Via del Torrione, Via San Rufino, Piazza del Comune, Via Portica, Via Fortini, Via del Seminario and Via San Francesco. You will enter the tomba di San Francesco through the large portal of the Basilica Inferiore di San Francesco (km 22). Your journey ends here.