Day Seven on the
Way of St. Francis ~
Pietralunga to Gubbio, 26 Kilometers (16.16 Miles)

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Our day seven on the Way of St. Francis from Pietralunga to Gubbio was another long day, full of strenuous ups and downs. It would prove to be a difficult day for us, not physically but emotionally, with some major questions seeping into our hearts. Yet the day's end would be rewarded with the most amazing of Italian medieval cities, Gubbio.

“The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of... We know the truth not only by the reason, but by the heart.” ~ Blaise Pascal, 17th C French Mathematician and Physicist

"Your own heart never lies. Ask, what is the right action for this moment? Follow your deepest truth.” ~ Brandon Bays

These above quotes, I chose for this day's writing, as it played deeply into our seventh pilgrimage day. The Pascal quote is one of my life's favorites! As you can see from the elevation profile below, it was not to be an easy day. 

Maps and Stats, The Way of St. Francis, Pietralunga to Gubbio

Below is our map for the day, as usual, with all the available amenities placed on it. There are not many of them! Aside from a bar, just past the town of Monteleto, almost 19 kilometers into the day, there is not much else! Come prepared for this day, as usual on this Via di Francesco!

Of note, when you get to Gubbio, there are eight donativos to stay in, if you want economy! Gubbio is a town of churches and monasteries, and is a popular tourist destination, as well as a pilgrim's dream. Please look on my map to see them all!

As noted above, this is a strenuous day. There are few options to break it up, and those are pricey.

The 1st climb of about 140 meters (460 feet), over not quite two kilometers, is not so bad. The 2nd climb, the biggest, is 270 meters (886 feet) over just shy of four kilometers. This one you will feel. 

And by the 3rd climb of about 110 meters (361 feet) over about two kilometers, I started to get grumpy! Seriously. Then, the final seven kilometers are on a gradual upward grade, on pavement, which while it doesn't look that bad, is quite industrious at the end of a long day. 

Each climb by itself is not that bad, but when you look at the total elevation gain/loss for the day, at more than 800 meters for each, it is a significant day!

Elevation Profile Day Seven, Pietralunga to GubbioElevation Profile Day Seven, Way of St. Francis, Pietralunga to Gubbio

Photo-Rich Travelogue, The Way of St. Francis, Pietralunga to Gubbio

We started out in the early morning, after having some bars from our packs, in our room at the Rifugio Betania Per i Pellegrini (+39 328 033 8261). Rich and I did not even look for an open bar prior to the day's walk, because it is usually a challenge and Nick doesn't drink coffee or eat anything before setting out for the day. I was resigned to the fact that I would not have coffee this morning. But my belly was happy at least.

The day greeted us with an incredible sunrise, so I walked over to the plaza, with its terrace, and snapped this photo below. Gorgeous!

Sunrise Over the Ridge to the South of PietralungaSunrise Over the Ridge to the South of Pietralunga

What a wonderful way to start the day!

As we three walked through the piazza, eastward and onto the Via Roma, lo and behold, what did I spy? An open bar on the corner of the plaza at 07:30 in the morning that was serving coffee and pastries! What luck!

While Nick walked on, (I started calling him the "camel" since he seemed to lack the need for early morning food and coffee), we ordered expressos and just drank them as a shot at the counter, in typical European fashion. Wasn't quite as gratifying as a long, slow caffè latte, but it would do in a pinch!

The Welcome, Open Bar Il TriangoloThe Welcome, Open Bar Il Triangolo on the Piazza

The streets were silent this early, and a few meters onward, along the Via Roma, we passed the B&B Gaigo.

The B&B Gaigo Along the Via RomaThe B&B Gaigo Along the Via Roma

Next, the Via Roma winds through the outskirts of Pietralunga, shown in the photo below, for just shy of one kilometer total from the town square, when it merges with the SP204.  

Winding Road Through Outskirts of PietralungaWinding Road Through Outskirts of Pietralunga

Walking only about 1oo meters on the SP204, it takes a huge bend to the right (south) with a Y-intersection. Just before this Y-intersection, you see the Pietralunga city limits sign (below), and right after it you take the left onto a street called Caipatrignani. This turn is well-signed. You can see the turn in the distance in the photo below. 

Pass Pietralunga City Limits Just Before Y-IntersectionNick Passes the Pietralunga City Limits Just Before Y-Intersection

At this Y-intersection you will see signs for two accommodations, both of which are way off-Camino. 

Walk straight on the Caipatrignani, open country road, shown next, for only about 800 meters. 

Straight Onward on the Caipatrignani, Open Country Road, day seven of the Way of St. Francis, from Pietralunga to GubbioStraight Onward on the Caipatrignani, Open Country Road

At approximately 1.77 kilometers into the day, you leave the paved country road, and make a right hand turn onto this gravel lane. As you can see, there was a chain across the road, with a precaution sign, a do not enter sign and no pedestrians sign! What?

Right Turn Onto Gravel LaneRight Turn Onto Gravel Lane

We stopped and pondered a bit about what to do. I had read on the Via di Francesco forums that the rain through here had been heavy and the runoff so great that many stream crossings were impassable. 

Nonetheless that was about six days ago, so we thought we would walk on a bit and take a look. And this is what we saw, below. 

River Wash OutRiver Wash Out

There had obviously been a huge wash out through here, but as you can see in the photo, the water now running through was not more than a trickle. We crossed it easily on the concrete spillway and continued. 

And just after this stream crossing, the first climb of the day, of 140 meters begins in earnest. Here is a section of the climb. 

First Climb of the DayFirst Climb of the Day on Gravel Road

Climbing up the gravel road on day seven of the Way of St. Francis from Pietralunga to Gubbio, we saw lovely views of Pietralunga when we looked back.

Views Back to Pietralunga, day seven of the Way of St. Francis from Pietralunga to Gubbio.Nice Views Back to Pietralunga on First Climb of the Day

At about 2.73 kilometers into the day, we heard what we thought was a stream, but it turned out to be a fountain. It is to the left of the white building in the photo below. We always walk with a water bladder so we moved onward.

Pass Fountain by the White BuildingPass Fountain by the White Building
First Climb Continues, day seven of the Way of St. Francis from Pietralunga to Gubbio.First Climb Continues
Hairpin Turn AheadHairpin Turn to the Left, Ahead, Near First Altitude Top

The top of the first climb is at 3.1 kilometers into the day, and is at the intersection shown in the photo below. 

First Top at T-IntersectionFirst Altitude Top at T-Intersection

The Way of St. Francis sign says we have 21.3 kilometers to go to Gubbio. I was suspicious of these numbers, which would prove to be not quite correct! Gubbio was still at least 23 kilometers away, by my calculations! 

At the top of the hill, at the T-intersection, you take a right hand turn to join the pavement, and then immediately drop steeply on the other side, to join the SP205 in about 50 meters.

Note, there is a sign at the top of the hill to the Agriturismo Borgo San Benedetto. It lies about 3/4 kilometer in the opposite direction, if you want to stay there. 

When the Via di Francesco intersects with the SP205, you take a left turn to walk on low-trafficked pavement, shown in the photo below. 

SP205 Pavement, Way of St Francis Pietralunga to GubbioSP205 Pavement, Way of St. Francis, Pietralunga to Gubbio

You are now descending on the SP205 towards the next major landmark, the Abbey of San Benedetto Vecchio

Nice Views on the Way to the Abbey of San Benedetto Vecchio, day seven on the Way of St. Francis, from Pietralunga to GubbioNice Views on the Way to the Abbey of San Benedetto Vecchio

When you come to a wooden cross in a clearing, just beyond the views shown in the photo above, you know you are very close to the Abbey. 

And you will see a cluster of buildings of the Abbadia di San Benedetto Vecchio as it is referred to in Italian, at about 3.8 kilometers total for the day. 

Abbey, San Benedetto Vecchio, day seven on the Way of St. Francis, from Pietralunga to GubbioAbbey, San Benedetto Vecchio

Unfortunately, the church was closed up tight as a drum when we arrived and not a soul was milling about, nor were there any signs posted to call anyone. 

All there was to see, other than the outside, is a placard describing a bit about the monastery, with its earliest recorded history on record as of June of 1191. Most likely it is much older, according to this information. 

Continuing down the hill on the SP205, the sun shone and the views were lovely. 

Continuing Downhill From First ClimbContinuing Downhill From the First Climb

At approximately 5.35 kilometers into day seven, you will reach the bottom of the first climb at this bridge, on the Way of St. Francis from Pietralunga to Gubbio. 

Bottom of the First Hill at the BridgeBottom of the First Climb at the Bridge

After crossing the bridge, the SP205 takes a sharp bend to the right, but the Via di Francesco takes a turn to the left on a gravel lane. The lane is to the left of the sign shown below. 

Again, you can see the damage done by the heavy rain that had come through here and the wash out that ensued. The sign says that Gubbio is 18.8 kilometers away, once again a few kilometers shy of reality!

Washout at BridgeWashout at Bridge

The onward lane is a wonderful entrance to the second and highest climb on day seven of the Way of St. Francis from Pietralunga to Gubbio!

Entrance to the Second Climb, day seven of the Way of St. Francis from Pietralunga to GubbioEntrance to the Second Climb

The first part of the second climb starts off nice enough! Looks sedate, doesn't it? 

Initial Section of the Second Climb, day seven of the Way of St. Francis from Pietralunga to GubbioInitial Section of the Second Climb

At about 7.0 kilometers total you will pass this wonderful old abandoned farm, not quite halfway up the second climb. 

Pass This Quaint but Abandoned Home and FarmPass This Quaint but Abandoned Home and Farm

The Lane quickly gets steep and more rugged, just before you reach an area marked as the Alto di Chiascio at a bit more than eight kilometers. However, there were cars making this ascent as we walked, somewhat bravely, I might add. 

Climbing Steeply Now Before the Alto di ChiascioClimbing Steeply Now Before the Alto di Chiascio

There is not much here at the "top" but a single building and signage of a map of the area, that in my opinion was not very helpful. Here is Rich at the Alto di Chiascio. 

Apparently, there is a park here and a system of hiking trails, hence the cars. 

Rich at the Alto di ChiascioRich at the Alto di Chiascio

I am not sure why this is called the top, because we still had some climbing to do and more than a kilometer to reach the ultimate altitude top of the second climb of the day. 

At the sign above, you entered a huge hairpin turn as you climbed that took you in the exact opposite direction. You will notice it very prominently on the map above. 

And after the hairpin turn, the Way steepens at first, then evens out and becomes more beautiful. 

Still ClimbingStill Climbing Through Gorgeous Forest Now

At about 9.32 kilometers, you will come to another hairpin turn on the road you have been walking, but the Way heads to the right, shown in the photo below. Just beyond this intersection is the second altitude top of the day, at 782 meters in altitude

Second and Ultimate Altitude TopSecond and Ultimate Altitude Top at Road Merge

For the next three kilometers, the descent off the second hill is quite pronounced! Get ready and get out your poles!

Walking Off the Second Altitude Top, day seven on the Way of St. Francis, from Pietralunga to GubbioWalking Off the Second Altitude Top

By 10.3 kilometers, come to an intersection, where you take a left turn, to walk extremely steeply down this hill, pictured next. It was OK in dry weather, but in wet conditions, it could be very interesting. Plus there are deep ruts in the road, so caution is required. Poles may be very helpful here!

Left Turn Onto Steep, Loose DescentLeft Turn Onto Steep, Loose Descent

Here is how the steep and loose descent appeared from the top. The photo just doesn't do the perspective justice, but it does give credence to the amazing views!

Steep Descent With a View, day seven on the Way of St. Francis, from Pietralunga to GubbioSteep Descent With a View, Way of St. Francis, Pietralunga to Gubbio

After about 150 meters down the steep hill, at the bottom, come to a T-intersection with another road, and turn right. 

In several hundred meters more, pass by this farm. 

Pass This FarmPass This Farm

Walk through more buildings at about 11.9 kilometers.

Walk Through More BuildingsWalk Through More Buildings

By approximately 12.2 kilometers, take a left hand turn onto a much nicer gravel road on day seven of the Way of St. Francis from Pietralunga to Gubbio.

In less than one hundred meters, cross a creek, which also showed evidence of a washout. You have reached the bottom of the second hill climb at this creek. Here is how the road looked by the creek when we walked through. 

Bottom of Second Climb at CreekBottom of Second Hill at Creek

Immediately after the creek, the third climb of the day begins! While we had not yet completed half of the day, I felt tired already, and was losing some of my motivation. But I carried on!

Third Climb Begins ImmediatelyThird Climb Begins Immediately

The gravel road eventually improves to pavement along this climb, which extends for about two full kilometers. 

It was along this third climb that I started my deeper reflection process, that I recorded in my voice journal, regarding this particular pilgrimages and how we felt about the experience. I have already documented our feelings in my introduction to the Way of St. Francis, so I won't repeat them here. Suffice it to say, we were in the process of making a decision, whether or not to carry on after Assisi.

Two Kilometer Climb on PavementTwo Kilometer Climb on Pavement

At 14.3 kilometers, you reach the top of the third climb. This is just before the church, the Chiesa Madonna di Montecchi, pictured below. When you arrive at this church, the heavy climbing for day seven is finished, on the Way of St. Francis from Pietralunga to Gubbio. 

Walk By the Chiesa Madonna di MontecchiWalk By the Chiesa Madonna di Montecchi

As you head down the hill, expansive views of the plains below appear. Gubbio lies in that plain ahead.

First Views of the Wide Plain BelowFirst Views of the Wide Plain Below

Walk by the attractive B&B di Valle at 15.4 kilometers. If you stay here, bring your translator, because the owner speaks no English. 

Pass the B&B di VallePass the B&B di Valle

A few meters past the B&B, there is a bridge over a creek crossing, where we encountered another do not enter barrier, even for foot traffic! There is an intense spillway to the left, at the split in the cliff, where the guys are standing, but not visible in the photo below. 

Another Road Barrier!Another Road Barrier!

This was yet another wash out, but again we decided to go through, and what we saw (not pictured) was astonishing. Half of the roadway had collapsed into the creek below with a very steep fall off, but it was safe for foot travel, so we continued on through, towards the next destination, the town of Loreto

Just after entering Loreto, you come to the parish church, the Chiesa San Giovanni. It is surrounded by shady trees, a terrace with a view to the plain below, and a non-functioning tap on its fountain. We stopped here for a quick break at 16 kilometers into the day. 

Chiesa San Giovanni, LoretoChiesa San Giovanni, Loreto
View of the Plain from the San Giovanni Church Terrace, Way of St. Francis, from Pietralunga to GubbioView of the Plain from the San Giovanni Church Terrace

In front of the church the Way is to the right, or south onto the Località Loreto Basso as it meanders its way through town and its environs. 

Nice, Easy Descent Through Loreto EnvironsNice, Easy Descent Through Loreto Environs

At 17.2 kilometers, come to a T-intersection with the SP207 and turn to the left. Join the SP207 for only a few meters, taking an immediate, first right hand turn, as seen in the photo below. 

Briefly Join the SP207Briefly Join the SP207, Right Turn Ahead

After the right turn off the SP207, there are some incredible villas in this area, and you will also walk by the turnoff to the I Casali di Villa Benveduti, at a Y-intersection, a possible accommodation if you do not want to continue onward to Gubbio. You would have logged in a respectable 17.2 kilometers.

Next, the Way bends to the right at the Y-intersection in the direction of the next town of Monteleto. Enroute, catch lovely views of vineyards and the plain. 

Vineyards Enroute to Monteleto, day seven on the Way of St. Francis, from Pietralunga to GubbioVineyards Enroute to Monteleto

At 17.8 kilometers enter the town of Monteleto and its uninspiring, landmark church. 

Chiesa di MonteletoChiesa di Monteleto

Walking along the Località Monteleto through town was uninspiring as well. 

And after the walk through town, the intersection with the SS219 is ahead, and its sight filled us with hope. 

Leaving MonteletoThe Main Road, the SS219 Ahead

Why? There is a bar, just to the right of the intersection, the Bar Tabacchi Vineria Bomboletti. And we were thrilled to find it open at 18.7 kilometers into our day seven on the Way of St. Francis from Pietralunga to Gubbio. 

Bar Tabacchi Vineria BombolettiBar Tabacchi Vineria Bomboletti at the SS219 Intersection

We had a beer, a caffè latte, some food we had stowed in our packs and ice cream! We sat outside, took off our shoes and enjoyed a longer rest! Nick, the camel, continued onward. I wondered what it would be like to not desire coffee and/or beer?? While we had had breaks along the way, there is absolutely nothing in my world, like a long coffee break. And the ice cream was the icing on the cake. No holding back for us!

After our lovely break, we returned to the route, that crosses over the SS219 and continues down the hill, taking the first, immediate right hand turn.

A few meters later the Way turns to the left and onto a gravel lane at this large stone house.

Left Turn Onto Gravel Lane at Stone HouseLeft Turn Onto Gravel Lane at Stone House

It is just past this turn that the Way reaches the bottom of the long third climb. For the next seven kilometers into the center of Gubbio, it is a long, straight, open and hot road, with a gradual climb. It can be monotonous. It was for us. 

Hot and Open Way Ahead, day seven of the Way of St. Francis, from Pietralunga to GubbioHot and Open Way Ahead

You follow this gravel lane for about 1/3 kilometer, then turn right onto a paved road. 

About 600 meters later, we stumbled into Nick, having a picnic at this lovely rest area with benches, a fountain and a metal St. Francis sculpture. Maybe his rest stop was better after all!

Picnic Area and Metal St. FrancisPicnic Area and Metal St. Francis
St. Francis Sculpture, day seven of the Way of St. Francis, from Pietralunga to GubbioSt. Francis Sculpture

Continue on the paved road through the plain, with views of mountains to your left with long rows of olive trees ascending the slopes! If you follow the mountain chain, you can just make out the Basilica of Sant'Ubaldo above Gubbio. So keep your eye out!

At 21.1 kilometers, the Via di Francesco takes you to a right turn to go up and over the SS219 on a bridge, pictured next. 

Cross the SS19Cross the SS19

After crossing the bridge, take the next left and soon you will arrive at the next, lovely rest area, honoring St. Francis at 21.5 kilometers. It also has benches, a fountain and a San Damiano cross. (This cross you will soon become familiar with, as it is a replica of the famous cross from the San Damiano Sanctuary in Assisi, where St. Francis heard the voice of God tell him to "Build my church.")

Second Nice Rest AreaSecond Nice Rest Area

About four kilometers away from Gubbio, through the trees you can see the slopes of Mount Ingino more clearly, upon which Gubbio was built and you can begin to make out the city. 

Gubbio Discernable AheadGubbio Discernable Ahead, Way of St. Francis, Pietralunga to Gubbio

At 23.9 kilometers, we crossed up and over the SS219 once again! From the top of this bridge, you can really see views of Gubbio ahead.

Cross the SS219 for Second TimeCross the SS219 for Second Time
Views of Gubbio from the SS219 BridgeViews of Gubbio from the SS219 Bridge

After crossing the bridge, take the first right onto the Via dell' Arboreto and you are in the city proper. Continue straight at this intersection pictured below.

Join the Via dell' ArboretoJoin the Via dell' Arboreto

Continue on the Via dell' Arboreto for about 800 meters total. At about 24.8 kilometers come to a large roundabout, with clear views of the Basilica of Sant'Ubaldo above you! Turn to the right onto the Viale Leonardo da Vinci.

Take a Right at this RoundaboutTake a Right at this Roundabout

Follow the Viale Leonardo da Vinci for about 350 meters, when it ends at a T-intersection. You will see a huge park across the street and your first view of the Teatro Romano, the Theater of Iguvium as it was known in Roman times.

Park and the Teatro Romano, day seven on the Way of St. Francis, from Pietralunga to GubbioPark and the Teatro Romano

Follow the walking path through the park. We walked over to the theater for a close-up. It is nicely preserved, but you could not enter it. 

Theater of IguviumTheater of Iguvium

After walking eastward across the park, the path bends to the north, and eventually comes out at a primary road, aptly named the Viale Teatro Romano, shown below. Turn right and head into the city center. 

Viale Teatro RomanoViale Teatro Romano

Walking on the Viale Teatro Romano, only about 130 meters, you will come to the Romanesque gate, the Porta degli Ortacci. This gate is right by the Chiesa di San Francesco, the St. Francis Church and the monument to the Wolf of Gubbio in the front. 

Porta degli OrtacciPorta degli Ortacci

The street now becomes the Via Giacomo Matteotti by the gate, shown below, as the Way continues onward, however, day seven of the Way of S.t Francis from Pietralunga to Gubbio ends here by the St. Francis Church.

Via Giacomo MatteottiVia Giacomo Matteotti

We arrived early enough to have a bit of a tour of the town, and we stayed in this very comfortable and friendly B&B, the Residenza Le Logge.

Residenza Le Logge, day seven on the Way of St. Francis, from Pietralunga to GubbioResidenza Le Logge

There are so very many places to stay in Gubbio, you can start your search on here. For the more economical accommodations like the Residenza Le Logge, refer to my interactive map above, for locations and prices. 

As I stated earlier, there are eight donativos, as Gubbio is a city of monasteries. They are too numerous to list here, but please go to the interactive map above and click on all the accommodations. There is one in orange, the Convento di San Marziale (+39 075 922 0693, email: that comes highly recommended by my Italian friend. It is close to the base of the funicular. Again, refer to my map.

Gubbio is an incredibly preserved medieval town, second only to Assisi, in my opinion and we could have spent a much longer time here than we did. For more information about it, click here to see my article on what to see and do. Here is a teaser:

Medieval House on Bridge, GubbioMedieval House on Bridge, Via A. Piccardi, Gubbio

And the icing on the cake was the lovely meal we had in an historic wine cellar-turned-restaurant, the Stinco&Stappo NorcinVineria. Here is a photo of Rich and I, taken by Nick, one of the few we have together. I don't remember what we had to eat, but I remember the ambiance very well!

Happy DinersHappy Diners, Elle and Rich

Reflections, The Way of St. Francis, Pietralunga to Gubbio

If not for the amazing town of Gubbio, I would state that day seven's walk was uninspiring. Along the Way there were only a few moments of great beauty, and not much else to see in between. 

As my reflections in my journal show, I was growing less content with this experience. It was so very different from any Camino de Santiago. There were no pilgrims, no comradery, no community dinners. For me, this is the spirit of the pilgrimage.

The truth is that one could spend hours trying to determine the best decision for them in the moment. At some point, you just need to follow your heart and move on. And so, this is what we held in our hearts. A decision was yet to come.


May your own Way of St. Francis from Pietralunga to Gubbio be a day where you follow your own heart's leanings, however that may look to you. And may Gubbio inspire you to linger and savor the beauty and the history of this place! Ultreia!

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Need suggestions on what to pack for your next pilgrimage? Click Here or on the photo below!

Carbon Trekking Poles

Carbon fiber construction ( not aluminum) in a trekking pole makes them ultra lightweight. We like the Z-Pole style from Black Diamond so we can hide  our poles in our pack from potential thievesbefore getting to our albergue! There are many to choose from!  ( See more of our gear recommendations! )

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An ultralight backpack should serve you well for years, like my Gregory has - six Caminos in all! My 28L Women's pack gets a 5-star on Amazon (Ones for Guys too)!

Microfiber Towel Set

Do not forget your quick-dry microfiber towel!

My absolute favorite book on how to be a pilgrim: