Following St. Francis
Umbria, land of spirituality. The vitality of the mystical experience can be seen in the considerable amount of artistic and architectonical testimonies dotted all over the Umbrian region. One of the spiritual movements at the root of Umbrian civilization is Franciscanism that marked a profound renewal in Christian thought.
Although Assisi is the symbol city, the whole region is full of places linked to the Saint that bear witness to his passage and presence. Francis spread his message of peace and brotherhood, searching out places to retire for prayer and meditation during his pilgrimages. Today these sites are part of the Franciscan itinerary, they offer the possibility of retracing the mystical and humane experience of Francis and his companions. Convents and churches were built where he lived, prayed or stayed.
In 1208-9 he frequently passed through Terni, strategically located on his journey between Assisi and Rome, where he visited to present his Rule for church approval.
The area of Terni in southern Umbria, offers numerous and significant testimonies to the presence of Francis and his brothers.
St. Christopher’s, Terni
According to tradition, in 1213, St. Francis prayed several times in front of the church. The stone (a column shaft) from where Francis addressed the multitude of believers that gathered to listen to him, is outside of the Church and surmounted by a statue of the Saint.
Saint Francis Church, Terni
In 1218, the bishop of Terni, Raniero, donated a building in the west of the town to the Minor order of monks for their abode, near an old oratory dedicated to Saint Cassiano. Francis was hosted there during his stay in Terni.
After his death, the town wished to build a Church in his memory and in 1259 works began.
The original structure was built along the lines of the basilica of the Saint in Assisi. Like all the other Franciscan cult buildings inspired by this model it has only one nave.
Santa Mariadelle Grazie, Terni
Churchlinked to the Franciscan cult dating back to the end of the XV century.
Built on the ruins of a Franciscan convent, nearby there is a spring declared as being miraculous. The cloister walls are frescoed with episodes from the life of the Saint.
The Eremita (Hermit),Cesi
On the slopes of Mount Torre Maggiore is a Franciscan convent dating back to the beginning of the XIII century. The location was chosen by Saint Francis himself, as many religious people had retired there to conduct a life of recluse.
Saint Francis Church, Narni
14th century church built on a building inhabited by Francis during his stay in the town. In 1213, Ugolino, bishop of Narni, invited Francis to the town who arrived together with some brothers. The church has a Gothic style portal surmounted by an aedicule.
The inside houses frescoes from the XV and XVI centuries: some of the pillars that form the nave and two aisles are decorated with scenes from the Saint’s life (XIV and XV centuries).
Franciscan Speco, Sant’Urbano
Immersed in an environment of extraordinary beauty, with a rich vegetation including Holm oaks, secular chestnut trees and maples. The Romanesque style construction stands out for its simplicity that is common to the places that hosted Saint Francis. The small rooms that make up the structure look onto a stone cloister formed by lowered arcades with a well in the centre. The Saint’s bed can still be seen inside the building.
Saint Francis Church, Piediluco
The Gothic church is inside the mediaeval quarter on a bend of the Piediluco Lake.
Started at the end of the XIII century and completed in 1338, it was dedicated to Saint Francis in memory of his visit to the village. It is a linear and soberly elegant building.
Entrance is by means of a steep flight of steps. One of the portals of the façade is surmounted by a frieze featuring elements of fishing.