The journey of the 21st-century pilgrims
A visit to the Bosco di San Francesco – a wonderful example of the Italian rural landscape, encompassing 64 hectares and more than 800 years of history – is so much more than a simple stroll through the forest or a natural-history trip. It is, in actual fact, a bona fide interior adventure in search of that message of perfect harmony between Man and Creation that San Francesco taught the world, taking this very place as his starting point. To take part in this new form of 21st-century pilgrimage into nature, history and the sacred, you are invited to walk along the narrow path that, beginning at the Basilica of San Francesco and passing through the Selva di San Francesco (the San Francesco Forest, owned by the Basilica Papale – Sacro Convento di San Francesco d’Assisi), crosses not only wooded sections but also cultivated fields, clearings and olive groves. On reaching the valley floor, you will enter into a self-contained world, inhabited in the late 13th and early 14th centuries by Benedictine nuns, which includes a church, a mill and the remains of a monastery.
Slightly further on, you will come to a tower/manufacturing workshop from which you can observe – before going on to experience it first-hand – the Terzo Paradiso, an extraordinary work of Land Art that artist Michelangelo Pistoletto created specifically for the Bosco di San Francesco.
Three routes, a single message
Although nature and the landscape constitute the soul of this corner of Umbria, in order to understand all the subtleties of the message that emerges from the Bosco, it is also necessary to take into account its history, the input of mankind and the activities of the members of the religious orders who lived and worked in this area. During your visit, we offer three keys to the interpretation of this historical landscape system, in the form of three separate but overlapping routes: the “landscape route”, which highlights the historical role of the Italian rural landscape; the “historical route”, which recounts the history of the area through its original buildings; and the “spiritual route”, which is geared towards helping you reflect on the past, present and future relationship between mankind and the natural world.