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Hiking

Hiking from Spoleto to Monteluco

Difficulty
Medium
Difference in level
500m
Distance
2 km
Explore the trekking itinerary from Spoleto to Monteluco, a fascinating route through charming hermitages immersed in the dense oak forest of the Spoleto area.

From Spoleto to Monteluco along the hermits’ path

Distance 2 km
Difference in level 500m
Difficulty medium
Walking time 1 hour
Road surface asphalt and dirt road
To visit in the area Spoleto Cathedral, Rocca Albornoziana, Ponte delle Torri, Nera River Park

 

From the Romans, who considered it their sacred forest, to the saintly hermits who spent hours in prayer and reflection here, Monteluco still exudes an aura of sacredness. You can be enveloped by the green expanse of trees and embark on one of the trekking routes in the area, taking you from Spoleto to Monteluco along “la corta”, a scenic trail through the Spoleto forest.

January 22, 2024 – Please note: Ponte delle Torri is currently not passable. Until its reopening, the Municipality of Spoleto recommends reaching Fortilizio dei Mulini by following CAI trail no. 3, starting from Via del Tiro a Segno, taking a right at the junction (check the trail map at the bottom of the page).

The approximately one-hour route is mostly uphill, so wearing appropriate clothing and shoes is advisable.

After reaching Fortilizio dei Mulini, where CAI trail no. 1 begins, the path ascends along the steep north-western slope through a forest of scientifically, historically, and scenically valuable holm oaks, known as the Sacred Forest of Monteluco. A lucus, as the Romans called it, sacred to Jupiter and protected by the rules inscribed in the famous Lex Spoletina, an epigraphic document composed of two steles dating back to the late 3rd century B.C., inscribed in archaic Latin, detailing laws regulating forest cutting and punishments for violators.

During the walk along “la corta”, bird enthusiasts may spot specimens of green woodpeckers, great spotted woodpeckers, Eurasian nuthatches, and wrynecks.

Continuing along the trail, you reach the area of hermitages, often part of private properties today, which testify to the importance of the hermitic movement that developed in Monteluco from the 6th century onwards. Among those easily accessible, the Hermitage of San Paolo Protoeremita stands out, purchased in the 19th century by the Marignoli family, who transformed it into a private villa and built the adjoining church of Saint Francis of Assisi. The Hermitage delle Grazie, now a period residence, gained importance in the 16th century when it was elected as a meeting place for the hermits and the residence of the congregation’s prior after the Benedictines abandoned the hermitage of San Giuliano. A little further on, you encounter the Hermitage of San Michele Arcangelo, which houses a chapel and three deep caves, one adapted as an oratory.

Once past the hermitages, you cross the provincial road to re-enter the trail leading to the summit of the mountain, skirting the Sanctuary of Saint Francis, whose origin is attributed to the first hermit who withdrew to Monteluco, the Syrian saint Isaac. Tradition has it that St. Francis of Assisi himself stayed here in 1218. Near the convent, there is a copy of the Lex Spoletina, while the original is preserved in the National Archaeological Museum of Spoleto. After immersing yourself in the relaxing silence that pervades the forest, you can reach the Belvedere and its hermitages, some dedicated to the saints who likely withdrew here for prayer.

At the end of the walk, you can return to Spoleto to explore its enchanting historic center. In the upper part of the city, you can admire the Rocca Albornoziana, a medieval fortress dominating the Spoleto Valley and home to the National Museum of the Duchy of Spoleto, or the Spoleto Cathedral, a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture located in the square of the same name.