FRANCISCAN SITES (accessible only by minivan).
Individual or group excursions.
Eremo delle Carceri
Saint Francis and his first compagnons often retired in the mountains to pray and meditate. The Eremo delle Carceri is one of these hermitages situated on 800m above sea level on the Mount Subasio. In Saint Francis’ days, the actual monastery didn’t exist. There were only caves in the forest where the friars spent the night. They lived following a rule invented by Francis known as “Marta and Maria” according to the passage from the Gospel (Lc. 10,38). The friars were divided into two groups. One played the role of “Marta” and took care of the food and other necessary tasks, the second group was “Maria” and spent the day in prayer. The following day the roles were inverted. You can visit the cave of Francis inside the buildings of the monastery. The other caves such as the one of Brother Leo are accessible through a forestpath. Surrounded by the silence of the ancient trees, the Eremo delle Carceri is certainly one of the most impressive sites near Assisi.
“While he was walking next to the church of San Damiano, he got the inspiration to enter and pray the Lord. He did this in front of a crucifix and heard a merciful and friendly voice say: “Francis don’t you see my house is in ruins? Go and repair it for me” (Legend of the Three Compagnons, Chapter five)
The little church of San Damiano is located on a hill outside of the town of Assisi and is surrounded by olive trees. Here, Saint Francis got his calling in 1206. After this episode Francis left his father’s house and dedicated himseld entirely to religion. A few years later the church of San Damiano became the first monastery of Saint Clare and her sisters which formed the first female order of the franciscan movement: the “damianite” sisters. After the death of their foundress they were called Clares.
Here, in 1225, a year before his death, a very ill Francis wrote the Canticle of the Sun, which can be considered the first poem in Italian language. A visit to San Damiano is important to understand the origin of the Franciscan movement and the origin of Italian literature.