The Rieti valley, east of Rome, is well known to any Franciscan Friend. It holds a number of sanctuaries full of memories and relics from the life and times of the tiny brother: Greccio, were St. Francis of Assisi celebrated Christmas Mass with live animals and the tiny baby came alive; the sanctuary at Poggio Bustone, where he started the mission; Fonte Colombo, where he dictated one of his rules and where he painted his signature, the Tau next to the altar; and finally the sanctuary of Santa Maria della Foresta, where his host complained of all the visitors, who trampled his grapes in order to get near to the holy man.

Foremost, however, the beauty and quiet nature should is worth enjoying. In the Rieti Valley one understands intuitively the many fables about St. Francis and his nature loving attitude towards every living creature – the birds, the tiny “brother” rabbit or the wolf.

Tired of the bustle of El Camino is an excellent idea to plan an alternative pilgrimage along the narrow paths from Rieti to Rome. In Rieti it is possible to get packaged tours as well as good general information including pre-booked hotels and dinners along the path.

Further, this summer Rieti hosts an interesting exhibition with art depicting St. Francis covering some of the earliest artworks up till now. The exhibition is housed at three venues inside the city of Rieti: In the Palazzo Communale from the 13th century and the Palazzo Vescoville with the diocesan gallery. Finally at the Complesso San Giorgio, a recently restored Benedictine cloister, a number of manuscripts and documents from the 13th century will be exhibited.

Francesco il Santo, Rieti:
16.06 – 04.11.2012
Walking in the Valle de Rieti



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