Umbria, land of spirituality. The vitality of the mystical experience can be seen in the considerable amount of artistic and architectonical testimonies dotted all over the Umbrian region. One of the spiritual movements at the root of Umbrian civilization is Franciscanism that marked a profound renewal in Christian thought.
Although Assisi is the symbol city, the whole region is full of places linked to the Saint that bear witness to his passage and presence. Francis spread his message of peace and brotherhood, searching out places to retire for prayer and meditation during his pilgrimages. Today these sites are part of the Franciscan itinerary, they offer the possibility of retracing the mystical and humane experience of Francis and his companions. Convents and churches were built where he lived, prayed or stayed.
In 1208-9 he frequently passed through Terni, strategically located on his journey between Assisi and Rome, where he visited to present his Rule for church approval.
The area of Terni in southern Umbria, offers numerous and significant testimonies to the presence of Francis and his brothers.
St. Christopher’s, Terni
According to tradition, in 1213, St. Francis prayed several times in front of the church. The stone (a column shaft) from where Francis addressed the multitude of believers that gathered to listen to him, is outside of the Church and surmounted by a statue of the Saint.
Saint Francis Church, Terni
In 1218, the bishop of Terni, Raniero, donated a building in the west of the town to the Minor order of monks for their abode, near an old oratory dedicated to Saint Cassiano. Francis was hosted there during his stay in Terni.
After his death, the town wished to build a Church in his memory and in 1259 works began.
The original structure was built along the lines of the basilica of the Saint in Assisi. Like all the other Franciscan cult buildings inspired by this model it has only one nave.
Santa Mariadelle Grazie, Terni
Churchlinked to the Franciscan cult dating back to the end of the XV century.
Built on the ruins of a Franciscan convent, nearby there is a spring declared as being miraculous. The cloister walls are frescoed with episodes from the life of the Saint.
The Eremita (Hermit),Cesi
On the slopes of Mount Torre Maggiore is a Franciscan convent dating back to the beginning of the XIII century. The location was chosen by Saint Francis himself, as many religious people had retired there to conduct a life of recluse.