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Did St Francis of Assisi walk the Camino?

#1
Good Day

Does anyone know if St Francis of Assisi walked the Camino? If he did when was this? Is there any information anywhere about his experiences and rewards from his walk?

Thanks

Rosetta
 
#3
PS He did not go via Roncesvalles, but around the Med to Barcelona, founding various monasteries (e.g. Perpignan) en route. I'm sure there's info on the web somewhere on this pilgrimage, but I'm afraid searching on 'San Francisco' might not get quite what you're looking for ;-) Try one of the numerous Franciscan websites.
 
#5
further to this, if you can read French, there's discussion of the subject at http://www.saint-jacques.info/francois.htm
From the fact that neither of Francis' earliest biographers mention it, the conclusion is that he didn't in fact go to Compostela, but that this was a later 'tradition' (in plain English, fabrication). Like much else to do with the early Camino, it's hard to disentangle history from myth.
 
#6
Saint Francis of Assisi, possible Pilgrim

The tip to http://www.saint-jacques.info/francois.html posted in reply to an early question is a good one.

If you'd like to believe the legend (copied below), complete with its little miracles and visions, about St. Francis tasking a poor charcoal-maker to build two convents,

>> La même tradition se retrouve à Santiago, sans doute née avec le
>> premier couvent franciscain de la ville : saint François, pendant son
>> séjour, reçut l'hospitalité d'un pauvre charbonnier, nommé Cotolay.
>> La demeure de celui-ci s'élevait sur une colline qui dominait deux
>> petites vallées, le « Val de Dieu » et le « Val d'Enfer ».

then the mention of a place called Val de Dios indicates a journey along the coastal road, rather than across the pass at Roncesvalles. Thus, Francis would have walked across Provence and Gascony, rounded the Pyrenees near the present day border crossing at Irun, and continued along the coast. This route would have taken him through Oviedo, where there were numerous holy relics to venerate, and then probably inland through Fonsagrada and Lugo to join the Camino Francés near Palas de Rei.

The problem with this legend is that while there was a pre-existing Pre-Romanesque church in Val de Dios (still standing), it was built something over three centuries earlier in the time of Alfonso III the Great. There is also a monastery in Val de Dios connected with the little church and founded more or less in the time (erly 1200's) St. Francis would have passed through there, but the monastic order connected with it was the Cistercians, not the Franciscans.

So there's enough reality in the legend to support the idea that St. Francis passed along the Camino del Norte, but the period is a blank spot in the contemporary biographies of the Saint. The best answer anyone can give to your question is, perhaps. I wouldn't disbelieve the story simply because there's an accretion of unlikely legend about it, but neither would I be upset if it all turned out to be the invention of someone's imagination. A connection between Francis and Compostela doesn't lend necessary support to the validity of the Pilgrimage, or to the truth of what we know about the life of the Saint himself.

So that's about it. Buen Camino.
Alan
 
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#7
If my research was correct, St. Francis departed Assisi, in Italy during 1213. He and his traveling party walked north then west out of Italy, into southwestern France, across Provence, and south across the Pyrenees into Iberia at the Somport Pass. By official records and historical accounts it took him until 1214 to complete his Camino to Santiago de Compostela, and until 1215 to walk back to Assisi. That's how one did it then - both ways! We are, all of use, slackers by comparison.

In this regard, Saint Francis and his party crossed the Pyrenees into Spain through the Somport Pass in the north portion of the then Kingdom of Aragon. His route proceeded south to the town of Jaca then turned to the west. His route then joined the main Camino Frances route at Puente la Reina in the then Kingdom of Navarra. From there, he traveled on the same route that the Camino Frances tracks today, albeit it with appropriate and necessary detours over the millenia.

The MOST significant thing about this is that coming out of the very old town of Puente la Reina, one necessarily walks through the SAME archway, over the SAME bridge and for several hundred meters at least on the remnants of the SAME ancient Roman road that Saint Francis actually stepped on in 1214. Now, how cool is that! After a bit the old Roman road gives way to paved path and cinder farm roads. But the point has been made. For a brief while, you are walking in the EXACT footsteps of the great person that Saint Francis of Assisi was and is.

If someone has better information, please share it.
 
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Kiwi-family

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#8
20? Dodgy source, I'd say;-)
 

falcon269

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#10
1213-1214 – Francis and Bernard take a mission to Spain; walks the Camino de Santiago, barefoot. After arriving in
Santiago de Compostela, he becomes ill again from malaria, stomach ulcers and a minor stroke.

St. Francis of Assisi – Biography
Compiled By: Dr. W.S. Beecham
 

SYates

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#11
Can you explain the bold bits please? I assume it is a joke? Or do you write from the future: "actually stepped on in 2014" ? SY

If my research was correct, St. Francis departed Assisi, in Italy during 2013. He and his traveling party walked north then west out of Italy, into southwestern France, across Provence, and south across the Pyrenees into Iberia at the Somport Pass. By official records and historical accounts it took him until 2014 to complete his Camino to Santiago de Compostela, and until 2015 to walk back to Assisi. That's how one did it then - both ways! We are, all of use, slackers by comparison.
...
The MOST significant thing about this is that coming out of the very old town of Puente la Reina, one necessarily walks through the SAME archway, over the SAME bridge and for several hundred meters at least on the remnants of the SAME ancient Roman road that Saint Francis actually stepped on in 2014.
 
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#13
Oops! Thank you very much for the charitable correction. I made the changes... Hey, it was my one allowed, daily "Senior Moment" and it was most definitely a typo on my part mea culpa. Besides, a thousand years is but a twinkle in the eye of God...

Sorry for any inconvenience...
 
#14
Good Day

Does anyone know if St Francis of Assisi walked the Camino? If he did when was this? Is there any information anywhere about his experiences and rewards from his walk?

Thanks

Rosetta
Rosetta, I came across this article in July 2014 - hope it throws some light on your question. Better late than later!

8TH CENTENARY OF ST FRANCIS OF ASSISI’S VISIT TO SANTIAGO

Santiago de Compostela and the Camino de Santiago celebrate this year a very special anniversary: it is 800 years since the pilgrimage of St. Francis of Assisi, from Italy to the city.

To commemorate St. Francis’ visit to Santiago, various cultural, artistic and musical events are scheduled in the city and other towns along the Camino de Santiago throughout the year. Also to commemorate this special anniversary, pilgrims doing the Camino de Santiago following on the footsteps of St Francis and visiting St. Francis’ convent will also be able to apply for a special certificate this year, called ‘Cotolaya’, in addition to the traditional ‘Compostela’. To receive the ‘Cotolaya’, pilgrims must follow the same requirements as the ‘Compostela’, get their pilgrim passport stamped, visit the cathedral and then visit the Church of San Francisco, where they will be able to apply for the ‘Cotolaya’. This Franciscan certificate is only available this year to commemorate this special anniversary.

It is not very clear the exact route taken back in 1214 by St. Francis’ visit to Santiago but the exhibition ‘Peregrinatio’ features images of the most likely pilgrimage route followed by St. Francis, from Assisi to Santiago de Compostela. ‘Peregrinatio’ and other ‘itinerant’ exhibitions will be opening in different towns along the Camino de Santiago throughout the year.

If you are visiting Santiago de Compostela this year, the exhibition ‘On the Road’, open until late November celebrates the pilgrimage of Saint Francis to the city, with installations in iconic parts of the old town, including the Pazo de Xelmírez, as well as the church and cemetery of Bonaval.

St. Francis was also the founder of the St. Francis church and convent in Santiago de Compostela. Part of the convent is also a fabulous historic 4-star hotel, San Francisco Monumento.

NOTE: I wonder how il poverello would react to a 4-star hotel named after him!
 
N

nathanael

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#15
I question this alleged Camino of St. Francis. However in Carrion de los Condons there is a plaque outside the convent of Poor Clares that says St. Francis passed by there.

This year my Camino was extra arduous. I started in mid July and by August I had two American young guys for companions and we got along great. We walked for two weeks together. We experienced hardships that I never have before on the Camino. Accommodations were hard to find luckily we were able to put out extra money and get private accommodations. In Portomarin we had to put up with 3 rude and bad manner young Spanish guys who did not sleep most of the night. They were drunk and made lewd sexual remarks to all young women that that passed by. They had the audacity to stand in line and get a compostela in good faith after all they caused.
I refused to receive a compostela or get the extra one from the Franciscans because of our hardships.

The bus loads of (Carminos) those who come by cars or buses was unending. Reservations was the name of the game. I am disgusted how the Camino has evolved. Therefore I didn't want a compostela and refused to visit the Cathedral.

I thank those who were able to help me and I in returned helped others when I could. I stayed in Rabanal for for 3 days at the monastery and that was definitely a spiritual uplifting. Remind me never to travel in August. Nevertheless it was an experience, next time a different route since have done Camino Francis 3 1/2 times

Buen Camino everyone.
 
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falcon269

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#16
Remind me never to travel in August.
Sound advice! The route is hot and busy.

Plagiarised several times over:

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
 
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#17
Sound advice! The route is hot and busy.

Plagiarised several times over:

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
An invaluable quote and an attitude I aspire to. Grateful ....
 

Mike Savage

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#18
Sound advice! The route is hot and busy.

Plagiarised several times over:

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Ah yes Desiderata. One of my favorites.
 
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#19
Sadly, I think the answer to the original question is "probably not", or "not" in the sense that he made the pilgrimage to Santiago - obviously his travellings in Spain will have crossed some caminos. It seems, however, unlikely that San Francisco ever set foot in Galicia. Neither of his first three biographers (Tommaso da Cellano, who knew him well, Julianus Teutonicus, who was probably present at his reburial in Assisi in 1230, or San Bonaventura, who was 5 when St Francis died, and will have met many of the saint's followers) mentions the pilgrimage to Santiago. The first certain mention of Saint Francis at Santiago comes in Ugolino de Montegiogio's Actus beati Francisci et sociorum ejus, written well over 100 yeas after his death.

But you can't prove a negative, especially not one from 800 yeas ago.
 
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#20
Happily the answer to the original question is "yes" as he arrived in Santiago in 1214 and founded the convent and church which still has some remains of the original convent. As well why would the Franciscans try to trick us into believing he did . The certificate which is being given this year "Cotolaya" would be a joke if he didn´t. Simply because no mention was made till until 100 years later. If we apply this system we would have to say that the Holy Bible ( New Testament) was a very nice story as it was written much later as well.

http://www.turgalicia.es/ficha-recurso?langId=en_US&cod_rec=3435&ctre=34

Ondo Ibili !
I'd love to think that you are right, but the evidence doesn't point that way. As you know, most of the New Testament was written well within a century of Christ's death, unlike the only reference to St Francis' presence at Santiago. I have no wish to upset people of faith and I certainly don't believe that anybody is trying to "trick" anybody (why on earth would I walk 1000+km to a tomb every year?) but historical accuracy is more easily verifiable over 800 years than over 2000.

As I say, he might have done, and I hope he did, but the evidence suggests he probably didn't or it would have been mentioned at the time.
 
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#21
Care to share that evidence?

Ondo Ibili !
Very sorry to labour the point, but the "evidence" is the fact that there is no reference to St Francis in Santiago until about 1350, many many years after his death and not mentioned by his many contemporary and near contemporary biographers (unless I've missed something that you have found, which would delight me).
 
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#23
In the September 2014 CSJ Bulletin (No127) Dr Gosia Brykczynska writes a four page summary of what we know in her article "Did St Francis go on pilgrimage to Santiago?" She notes that the idea "comes from a single reference made in the 'Fioretti of St Francis,' (written in the middle of the XIV century) which states '...Francis' devotion brought him to Saint James of Galicia.' " Two contemporary biographers "gave no indication of the saint ever having been to Santiago." Many believe St Francis went to Santiago in 1214, hence the reason for the current celebration of the 800th anniversary of the event. " From the end of Brykczynska's essay ... "in conclusion, all that can be said for certain is that the tradition that St Francis undertook the pilgrimage and did indeed reach Santiago is very strong."
And, there is something to be said for tradition, right?
 
N

nathanael

Guest
#25
The Albergue de Peregrinos Convento de Santa Clara in Carrion de los Condes is one of the places where he was reputed to have stopped, though whether this is true or not I don't know.
The Poor Clare's at this monastery are very hospitable . there convent is supposed to have been founded somewhere in the 12 century. They also provide an albergue and private rooms.
 
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#27
A few years after the death of St Francis, a contemporary of St Francis, Thomas of Celano, was asked by the Pope of the time to write an account of the life of St Francis. He was told to only include the accounts of reliable witnesses. It was a massive undertaking. A decade or two later he was asked to write an additional account based on the same quality of evidence (including St Francis' canonization papers). The accounts of Thomas of Celano must be regarded as the earliest and most reliable accounts of St Francis' character and what he did in his lifetime. He is one of the best documented saints of the early 1200s. St Bonaventure (not a contemporary of St Francis) was the next asked to write an official account of St Francis' life. I have read both the Celano accounts at least five times and the Bonaventure account once as a matter of devotion.

If St Francis had walked the Camino (whichever way) and visited Santiago de Compostela, this would have come to the attention of Celano and Bonaventure because that would have been a major undertaking. He never had the luxury to be able to make express pilgrimages to the graves of saints (though he greatly revered the bones of saints in the churches he did visit). He always needed a good reason for long distance travel, for example; when he needed to visit the Pope in Rome in regard to the Franciscan rule, or to the Middle East to speak with a sultan and to troops engaged there (but primarily he was hoping to be martyred there). Otherwise he was too busy helping the poor, looking after lepers, preaching and establishing the great Franciscan orders. If the friars travelled, during St Francis' lifetime, it was to preach the value of poverty and living the Gospel life. It is recorded in Thomas of Celano that St Francis was particularly joyous when he heard the reports of the inspired work of the newly ordained friars in Spain and their enthusiasm for the life of Christ.

There is not a single mention of St Francis going to Santiago de Compostela. The biographies mentioned above are works of great detail, unlike most biographies of saints before his time, so it is unlikely that these biographers and their informants would have overlooked a very long absence in a far away (to them in the 1200s) place like northern Spain. St Francis suffered from very poor health in the latter part of his life making travel difficult.

Many legends grew up over the ensuing century and centuries thereafter but they are exactly just that, legends. These legends can be dated from when they first suddenly appear in a document. Consequent accounts then all stem from that later document.

I would love to believe St Francis walked the Camino and visited Santiago because I belong to the Secular Order of St Francis (old Third Order) but there just isn't any reliable evidence for it. There are lots of later legends and speculations which have accrued over the centuries to this day but there is no reliable evidence. I visited the Franciscan church several times at Santiago de Compostela a few months ago. Whatever may be believed on the subject there, there are no monuments marking the former personal presence of St Francis anywhere.

There is a wonderful walk called 'the way of St Frances' (Florence to Assisi and Rome). I visited Assisi in October and there you can strongly feel St Francis. The specific sites relating to St Francis in and around Assisi may still be visited and the principle ones can be solidly confirmed by archaeological means and are mentioned in detail in the accounts by Thomas of Celano and St Bonaventure.
 

Devon Mike

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#28
St Francis arrived in Santiago in 1214 and the St Francis Convent in Santiago issues a Compostela on each 100th anniversary.

I was privileged to receive a Compostela in 2014 to celebrate the 800th anniversary.

Of course we won't be around when the next ones are issued in 2114. :rolleyes:

Image.jpg
 
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Devon Mike

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#30
See post above by @Robert V J Varman ofs Buen Camino, SY
I did read this post, but when I went to the Church of St Francis in Santiago in 2014, I was told that he definitely did walk to Santiago and arrived in 1214 which is why they now issue their Compostela on the 100th anniversaries.

I guess that like various aspects of history, there are always different versions and points of view.
 

SYates

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#31
Only some are supported by evidence and some aren't. Really, there isn't any evidence at all, like contemporary writings/witnesses ect that Saint Francis really walked to Santiago and his life is very well documented that way. What date / year did they give you for his pilgrimage? SY
 

Devon Mike

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#32
Only some are supported by evidence and some aren't. Really, there isn't any evidence at all, like contemporary writings/witnesses ect that Saint Francis really walked to Santiago and his life is very well documented that way. What date / year did they give you for his pilgrimage? SY
If you look at the bottom right hand corner of the Compostela I have attached to my last post, you will see that 2014 was the 800th anniversary of St Francis's pilgrimage to Santiago, so that makes it in the year 1214.
 

SYates

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#33
So why did none of his contemporary autobiographers (Thomas of Celano and others) mentioned this? Certainly a major pilgrimage like this would have been important to them? SY
 

Devon Mike

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#34
So why did none of his contemporary autobiographers (Thomas of Celano and others) mentioned this? Certainly a major pilgrimage like this would have been important to them? SY
I have no idea, so when I am in Santiago this year I will visit the St Francis Convent again and ask why they believe he did go there and where is the written evidence.
 

SYates

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#35
Good plan! I might do the same, perhaps we will meet one day and compare notes? Buen Camino, SY
 
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#36
If you look at the bottom right hand corner of the Compostela I have attached to my last post, you will see that 2014 was the 800th anniversary of St Francis's pilgrimage to Santiago, so that makes it in the year 1214.
The Catholic Encyclopedia entry for St Francis has this comment wrt his visit to Spain 'Authentic details are unfortunately lacking of Francis's journey to Spain and sojourn there. It probably took place in the winter of 1214-1215.' Further, the context of this journey appears to have been St Francis' desire to proselytize in Morocco, and travelling to Santiago, on the other side of the Spanish peninsula, would not have been consistent with that goal.
 

SYates

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#37
I see so many of us pestering the Franciscans in Santiago with these questions :rolleyes: SY
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#38
There is a lot of information about the Cotolaya and explanations about Saint-Francis' pilgrimage which he is sais to have started in November of 1213 and ened in Semana Santa of 1215. The Cotolaya is named after a Spanish coal miner, Cotolai, whose family offered Saint- Francis a roof when he walked through the Monte del Pedroso. This same man was asked by Saint-Francis to build a monastery, to do it he is said to have shown him a treasure in an Ermita in San Payo del Monte. The monastery was built in Valle de Dios, on land belomgimg to the monks of San Martin Pinario. The monastery collapsed in the 18th century but ruins of it can be found in the main claustro y sepulcro de Cotolai.

There is also talk of a biography dating to around the 14th century, Las Florecillas de San Franciso, chapter 4 refers to this pilgrimage. The biography is said to be in the Franciscans' archives. You can read it online at franciscanos.org This chapter says that it was while in prayer after having arrived in Santiago that Saint Francis was told by Gos that he should build numerous monasteries around the world.
 
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#39
There is also talk of a biography dating to around the 14th century, Las Florecillas de San Franciso, chapter 4 refers to this pilgrimage. The biography is said to be in the Franciscans' archives.
One wonders how someone writing many decades after St Francis' death established this when the biographer who joined the order at the time this pilgrimage was said to have taken place, and wrote his biographies in the decade following the saint's death, did not think to mention these things.
 
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Devon Mike

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#41
Very interesting comments here. :rolleyes:

It does not surprise me that different chroniclers give different accounts. The biggest example of this are the four Gospels. What is written in one may not be in another, but that does not diminish my belief in them.

Let's keep the faith. :)
 
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#42
Very interesting comments here. :rolleyes:

It does not surprise me that different chroniclers give different accounts. The biggest example of this are the four Gospels. What is written in one may not be in another, but that does not diminish my belief in them.

Let's keep the faith. :)
I really don't think this is a good comparison. The gospel's differences can indeed be explained by noting the four authors were sharing different views of times they had witnessed. No such justification is available to a biographer who was working a century later compared to one who joined St Francis at the time these events were said to have taken place.
 
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RumAndChupacabras

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#43
If my research was correct, St. Francis departed Assisi, in Italy during 1213...
The MOST significant thing about this is that coming out of the very old town of Puente la Reina, one necessarily walks through the SAME archway, over the SAME bridge and for several hundred meters at least on the remnants of the SAME ancient Roman road that Saint Francis actually stepped on
Luv this post! 😍
 

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