Guide Highlights

  • The best way to get to La Verna from Florence is to take a train to Arezzo, then another train to Bibbiena, followed by a bus to La Beccia, and finally a walk to the Sanctuary.
  • Stia and Rifugio Casa Santicchio are great alternative starting points for the first six stages of the Way of St Francis.
  • Pilgrims should aim to arrive before the daily friar procession at 15:00.

Table of Contents

Why You Should Go To La Verna

Basilica - Santuario della Verna

The Sanctuary of La Verna (Santuario della Verna) is one of the most important sites on the Via di Francesco. It is a beloved mountain retreat where St Francis meditated and prayed, and where he received the stigmata. 

La Verna is also special because it is nestled inside sacred forests, surrounded by caves, animals and natural beauty, revealing St Francis’ devout love for nature.

For some pilgrims, La Verna is a launching point for their pilgrimage. For others, it is a reward for trekking the first 100 km of the Way of St Francis. For all visitors, it is a place where one can feel an inner connection to something greater.

What You Miss by Starting in La Verna

Some of the highlights of the first six stages are among pilgrims’ favorite sections of the entire Via di Francesco. 

Here’s what you’ll miss when you skip ahead to La Verna:

  • Getting your official starting stamp at Santa Croce in Florence in Stage 1
  • Pilgrim group dinner in Consuma at Ospitale di San Domenico in Stage 2
  • Walk through the stillness and tranquility of the Vallombrosa Forests and Casentinesi Forests, unique to the first 6 stages.
  • Visiting the remote mountain hermitage Sacro Eremo and Monastero di Camaldoli, overnighting at Foresteria del Monestero di Camaldoli, or forest bathing at Rifugio Asqua in Stage 4
  • World class dinner and stillness at Rifugio Casa Santicchio, and walking through St Frances’ beloved sacred forest leading to La Verna in Stage 6

You can also consider starting at different points throughout the first 6 stages, such as Stia in Stage 3 or Rifugio Casa  Santicchio. Alternative starting points are below.

Where is La Verna?

Map Florence to La Verna

The Sanctuary of La Verna is about 83 km or 2 hours by car east of Florence.

There is no straight road from Florence to La Verna. The windy route by public transit requires a variety of connections and transfers. 

The monastery is located within the national park, surrounded by protected ancient forests.

From La Verna, Assisi is 117 km by car, or about 190 km walking across 9 stages.