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The February 2017 newsletter of Pilgrim Paths about our summer and fall pilgrim walks in beautiful Italy.
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Walk from Florence to Assisi this September and Go Backwards in Time

Michelangelo's DavidOur September 3-19 walk from Florence to Assisi allows pilgrims to enjoy sixteen unforgettable days in some of Central Italy's most beautiful and historic towns. The walk begins in Florence, Capital of the Renaissance, walks through the Casetine National Forest and then carries pilgrims through beautiful Umbrian countryside to the beloved town of Assisi, birthplace of St. Francis.

But that description doesn't really do it justice. What really happens on this walk is that pilgrims begin in Renaissance Florence and walk back in time through to the simpler times of Medieval Italy.

We all know about Renaissance Florence very well. Here a person can wander among treasured artworks like the Birth of Venus by Botticelli, the Madonna of the Goldfinch by Raphael or The Holy Family by Michelangelo. Or perhaps you would want to stop at the burial place of Galileo at Basilica Santa Croce or ponder the construction of Brunelleschi's dome or spend time in amazement at Michelangelo's David. All are a few blocks away from each other in the must-see town of Florence, on the banks of the Arno River.

Basilica di San Francesco, AssisiIn the first days' walks, following the Arno Valley, we are transported back in time. The mighty forest of the Casentino park greets us as we climb first to Camaldoli Monastery, home to monks and hermits for hundreds of years before the Renaisssance. Then it's on to beloved Santuario della Verna, where one of the greats of the Middle Ages, St. Francis of Assisi, received his stigmata. Each step of the way is along timeless nature paths in fresh, mountain air on an itinerary punctuated with scenic Umbrian towns like Sansepolcro, Città di Castello, Gubbio, and finally beautiful Assisi. 

Filled with stories of St. Francis, quiet walks on country paths, and delicious Umbrian cuisine, the Florence to Assisi itinerary shows a side of Italy you would never see on a bus. Here is open Italian countryside, simple and beautiful as it was through the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and today.
Sandy BrownWith experience based on walking over 4,500 kilometers on pilgrim routes in Europe, we've put together a suite of 2017 pilgrimage itineraries in gorgeous Italy that are perfect for either the first time pilgrim or for experienced pilgrims who want a strong support infrastructure helping them along the way. Here's how we do it:
  • Full van service is provided each and every day;
  • Full baggage service supports us all the way;
  • High-quality accommodations are our home each night;
  • A limit of 10 per group means close friendships;
  • Accompanied by Via di Francesco expert, Sandy Brown, author of The Way of St. Francis: From Florence to Assisi and Rome
We make sure you're fully prepared to flourish on your walk with our packing lists and training recommendations. We translate for you as needed, and best of all, we become pilgrim family with each other as we walk in these beautiful and memorable steps in gorgeous Italy. Some spots are left. Join us! -- Sandy Brown, Owner
 
The quiet, northern portion of the Via di Francesco leads from Florence to Assisi through the Casentine National Forest, stopping at important spiritual centers bathed in memories of St. Francis of Assisi. Six spaces are available for this trip of a lifetime!
Life interrupts sometimes, and that's happened this year with Pilgrim Paths. Our owner, Sandy Brown (a United Methodist pastor) was asked by his bishop to serve as permanent pastor of the Edmonds United Methodist Church. Due to this life change, we've cut back our plans and focus on our September itineraries. Although the September 19-October 5 walk from Assisi to Rome is fully booked, spaces are still available on the Florence to Assisi walk from September 3-19. Plan to sign up soon so you can be certain to have one of the few remaining spots.

Upcoming Talks

Sandy is featured speaker at a luncheon program on February 26, 11:45 a.m. at the Edmonds United Methodist Church (828 Caspers St, Edmonds WA) which benefits the Salud y Paz mission in Guatemala. Make your reservation by email to the Edmonds United Methodist Church office. Suggested donation is $10 per person. Also on the agenda is a program on "Walking Italy's Pilgrimage Paths" at the Rick Steves Travel Center on Thursday, April 6, 6:00pm. Reservations required.
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