Sunday 16th October 2011, my daughter Sandra and I set out to walk to Eremo della Carceri which Fodor’s described as a steep but spiritual walk up Mount Subasio to the little monastery, set in the forest that Saint Francis used to retreat to, to get away from the hustle and bustle of Assisi. Walking up the hill from the monastery where we stayed, to the gate near Santa Chiara we were already tired. Nevertheless we set off undaunted. The climb was quite strenuous, walking up a steep 4 Km road, with hairpin bends, and the weather was freezing, however we never dreamed of hailing one of the taxis or buses that passed us, also going to the monastery.
We had read that the walk was through a forest, it was actually a walk on a road through the forest, so we were walking in the sun all the time, even although the temperature was freezing. However we still enjoyed the experience enormously and if we had the chance to do it again, we would choose to walk up again.
As we were wondering if we were ever going to reach the monastery we at last saw a road sign saying 1 km to go. This lifted our spirits and with a few laps more we saw the monastery through the thick trees. There was never a more welcome sight. The actual monastery is beautifully peaceful, set in the forest on a cliff absolutely covered with trees.
We walked up the little path to the monastery and saw the statue next to the tree where St Francis talked to the birds, we walked through the monastery, entering at the top and bending right over to walk through minute doorways, passing St. Francis’ cave on the way. The people in that century must have been really small, some of the doorways were literally the size of our everyday windows. We exited at the bottom of the monastery and followed the pathway down to the cave where Friar Rufino used to sleep. The forest and pathways are beautiful, the tree canopy enclosing the paths and forming a canopy of trees. There are grottos, little altars and wooden benches and life size statues of St Francis and friends lying under the trees. There were lots of little side paths leading into the forest and really rickety iron steps leading down to a platform where we could look down into the gorge. There is definitely a very spiritual and peaceful atmosphere around this monastery and the forest. After we had regained our energy we set off down the mountain. We stopped at a little restaurant at the side of the road, about halfway down the mountain and had wonderful thick spaghetti with boar and truffle sauce and a glass of wine.
The walk up the mountain and around the monastery was truly a wonderful experience and as long as you are prepared for the long walk most people will manage. It is well worth doing.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC