Itinerary: Rimini (0 km), Verucchio (23 km), Sant’Igne (43 km), San Leo (47 km), Perticara (71 km), Sant’Agata Feltria (81 km), Pereto (86 km), Balze (104 km), Chiusi della Verna (153 km), Caprese Michelangelo (164 km), Anghiari (172 km), Borgo Pace (255 km), Sestino (270 km), Pennabilli (294 km), Villagrande (316 km), San Leo (327 km), Rimini (364 km)
Duration: 48 hours
Total distanca: km 364
When: from April to October
It is in front of the magnificent Malatesta Temple that our journey in the footsteps of St. Frances begins. Indeed, it is with the precious shapes and marble forms of one of the masterpieces of the Renaissance that the ancient church dedicated to the Saint of Assisi is hidden. From the heart of Rimini to Colle di Covignano to then head straight to Verucchio. In the place that hosted him, giving him shelter and peace, from the early 1200s, the convent came to life and its cloister preserves and protects the majestic cypress that tradition says the "pilgrim’s staff" that supported Frances's journey came from. A short stop in front of Saint Frances’s thermal springs that we meet on the way up towards Verucchio to then reach Sant'Igne continuing on along the Marecchia road up to Secchiano, and then we take a short cut-off by going across the bridge over the waters of the Marecchia near the village. Tradition has it that the convent of Sant'Igne was built on the site of the miraculous apparition of the "sacred fire" that showed Saint Frances the way towards San Leo where Count Orlando de' Cattani, fascinated by Frances's sermons, gave him the mount of Verna, which is the place that played a central role in the saint's work of evangelization and in his journey of faith.
It is towards this place that we are now heading, descending again towards the river and then going up along the hairpin bends that lead first to Perticara and Sant'Agata Feltria to then continue on towards Pereto and Palazzo. From there the road turns into a dirt road as it enters the heart of the mountain. Sometimes a cross or a sign indicating the Way tells us that we are on the right path which becomes an asphalted road again only when we are in the vicinity of Balze. To continue our journey towards the La Verna mountain and its sanctuary, we head towards Pratieghi and then, at Caprile, turn onto the new Sestinese road and go back down towards Pieve Santo Stefano. Just a few more kilometers separate us from our destination, and then, ahead of us on a rocky ridge the magnificent sanctuary appears standing with its load of values, history, beauty, and spirituality.
For the return route, we decide to take another of the "paths" linked to Frances's wanderings and head towards Caprese which, no more than 10 km away, was Michelangelo’s birthplace. These are places of great charm such as the nearby Anghiari, linked by fame to a mysterious work by Leonardo da Vinci, and San Sepolcro, the birthplace of Piero della Francesca.
The attraction of the hairpin bends of Bocca Trabaria wins out over that of the curves that would take us to Viamaggio Pass, and it is this unique enjoyment that takes us to Borgo Pace, where the Meta and Auro streams join in what, all the way up to Fano, will become the Metauro. From there it is largely an unpaved road that takes us towards Sestino crossing the magic of the park that surrounds the outlines of the Sassi di Simone and Simoncello to then reach Pennabilli, Soanne, Villagrande and finally back to San Leo. A real enjoyment for those who love motorcycles not only for the wonderful sensations they can give but also for the advantage of their potential to immerse the visitor in the beauty of places and stories, in what makes life wonderful, just like we try to do with our trips.