the Convent of Saint Francis, Stroncone
Il Cammino dei Protomartiri Francescani

The path of the Franciscan Proto-Martyrs

On the footprints of the Franciscan Proto-Martyrs Saints

Berardo, Ottone, Peter, Accursio and Adiuto are the names of the Franciscan Proto-Martyr-saints, the first martyrs of the order, killed in Morocco in 1220, for their profound and unconditional faith in Christ.


We propose a walking route starting from Terni and crossing Stroncone, Aguzzo, Calvi dell'Umbria, Narni and San Gemini, native cities of the Proto-Martyr-saints, and ending in the Saint Antony Sanctuary of the Franciscan Proto-Martyrs in Terni, following a path along the places where Saint Francis preached the Gospel.


The path is divided in six stages, but you can even create intermediate ones for an easier walk or to deepen the knowledge of some places.

The first stage goes from Terni to Stroncone: the path is throug nature, along Terni's hills. In the church of Saint Mary of Peace, you can stop to look at the painting ensemble by Stefano di Stasio dedicated to the Franciscan Proto-Martyrs. Along your path, you can glimpse the remains of the ancient abbey of Saint Benedict in Fundis and the Saint Simeon Monastery today used by the religious community of the Ricostruttori nella Preghiera (Rebuilders in Prayer). The path ends in the Convent of Saint Francis in Stroncone, the village where Saint Ottone was born.

The second stage of the path goes from Stroncone until Calvi dell'Umbria. Even this part of the road takes place entirely in the nature. You will pass through Aguzzo, the town of Saint Accursio and the Hermitage of Saint Urban, where Saint Francis stayed for a long time and where he transformed water into wine. You will find yourself in Calvi dell'Umbria, the town of Saint Berard: here you can admire a monumental nativity scene made of the sixteenth century terracotta, unique in its kind in Umbria. You will end the path in the Church of Saint Mary Assunta.

The third stage of the walk leads to Narni: it's the longest stage of the route, but also the richest of places to visit. It starts with the Saint Michael Archangel church, an ancient Benedictine abbey in Schifanoia and then to Saint Pudenziana, church of Roman origin, and Saint Angel Castle in Massa, originally a Benedictine abbey, and finally a visit to the majestic Albornoz fortress in Narni, city where Saint Adiuto was born. The path finishes in Narni in the Saint Francis church.

The fourth stage takes place in the beautiful countryside connecting Narni and San Gemini: first, visit the 10th century Saint Cassiano abbey and the sanctuary of the Madonna del Ponte, a place visited by pilgrims since antiquity as was the Sanctuary of Saint Mary of the Oak. You'll continue to San Gemini, the village where the Proto-martyr Saint Peter was born, where you'll end the stage in the Church of Saint Francis.

Start again from San Gemini and head towards Cesi, along mountain paths. Visit along the road the Carsulae archeological site. At the end of the stage, you will reach the Romita di Cesi hermitage, where a Friar Minor, supported by a group of volunteers, restored the ancient splendor of a beautiful Franciscan convent, where the Poor Man of Assisi composed the first version of the Canticle of the Creatures.

The last stage starts from the Church of Santa Maria Assunta in Cesi and returns you to the starting point: Terni. This part takes place almost entirely along a paved path; along the way, visit the Sanctuary of Santa Maria dell'Oro, ste of an ancient Franciscan convent, built on orders of San Bernardino da Siena. The path of Franciscan Proto-Martyrs ends in a symbolic place: the Church of Saint Antony of Padua, which holds relics of the Franciscan Martyr-saints.

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