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Wonder
Wonder  }  Place of worship

The Speco of St. Francis

On the trail of the Little Brother of Assisi

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Where is

Umbria

Strada Narni Sant'Urbano, 140, 05035 Narni TR, Italia (405m s.l.m.)

Directions
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What it is and where it is

The Convent of the Sacred Speco of St. Francis is a small and ancient spiritual center located on a hill near Narni. The stone building overlooks the Conca Ternana and looks down on it from above, detached in its silence and peace. The structures we see today were built over the centuries, particularly between the 15th and 16th centuries, but the oldest nucleus is the Chapel of St. Sylvester from which there is access to a narrow corridor and a room with a well, the same one from which water was drawn to bring to St. Francis.

Why it is special

The monks who brought the water to the saint did not have to travel too far. In fact, even pilgrims who come here can retrace their steps, along a well-maintained, stepped path that leads to the true spiritual heart of the area: the Sacro Speco. This is a cleft in the rock into which Francis slipped in prayer. Here the saint retired in meditation and performed several miracles. Perhaps it is thanks to the complicity of nature, which was a friend and faithful companion to him, that his presence can still be felt today as a breath among the treetops and a vibration among the rocks.

Not to be missed

Francis, however, was not well at the time of his stay here. To provide him with a minimum of comfort, a cell was built near the Speco , which is still visible today. Inside, protected by a shrine, is kept what tradition indicates was the saint's bed. Certainly, entering the same rooms that gave shelter to St. Francis arouses very intense emotions and it is moving to lay one's eyes on the very stones that accompanied Francis in his prayers.

Curiosity

Near the Speco stands a magnificent centuries-old chestnut tree. According to tradition, at some point during his stay here, St. Francis felt better, so much so that he decided to abandon the support he had needed in the past days. Thus, he took a few steps on the meadow and stuck his chestnut wood stick into the ground. This, thus planted, sprouted and over the centuries became the wonderful tree that still gives shade, coolness and chestnuts.

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This is a place that welcomed St. Francis with love, and hosted him for his prayers and meditations. Being here is like meeting face to face with a little piece of the saint's soul.

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