The rich cultural, artistic, and religious depth of La Verna
Where St. Francis was venerated, is immediately apparent to any visitor who steps foot in this fascinating area of Tuscany.
The main spiritual and religious site of Casentino is that of The Sanctuary, which is located on Mount Penna, or Mount of La Verna, as it is also known, in the province of Arezzo just above Chiusi della Verna. Large numbers of tourists of all faiths flock to La Verna every year to visit this spiritual gem and to pay homage to one of the world’s most revered saints and the Patron Saint of Italy.
Count Orlando Cattani of Chiusi of La Verna donated The Mount of La Verna to St. Francis in 1213, describing it as the ideal location in which the saint could enjoy peaceful reflection in a beautiful natural setting.
A hermitage was constructed on the mountain and Francis, and his followers frequently visited the site to enjoy uninterrupted periods of prayer and meditation. Legend has it that Francis last stayed at this spiritual location in 1224. During his visit, he fell ill and tired. As he prayed, he experienced a vision and received the stigmata that he bore until he died two years later.
The 13th-century church that stands at the site today was constructed after the Virgin Mary appeared before St. Francis. It contains many notable relics of the saint. One item that attracts a lot of interest from visitors and pilgrims alike is the linen cloth that St Francis was wearing when the stigmata occurred.
The main paved square of La Verna is known as the Quadrante. It is surrounded by a stone wall from which visitors can enjoy spellbinding views of the valley of Casentino. Basilica Maggiore is located within close proximity to the Quadrante. It was consecrated in 1568 and is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Inside you will find some of the most important works that were produced by the 15th-century sculptor Andrea della Robbia.
The corridor of the Stigmata is also a fascinating attraction. Visitors can spend hours poring over the 18 frescoes that depict various events in the life of St Francis.
The Chapel of the Stigmata is located in the place at which St Francis
Was believed to have received his stigmata. Twice a day, the friars from the monastery walk in procession from the Church of Santa Maria to the Chapel of the Stigmata to honour this miracle.
The natural sites in the area are as majestic as the religious attractions. La Verna Forest is maintained by the Franciscan Friars and is rich with fascinating flora and fauna species including deer, falcons, owls, wild boar, and wolves.
Legend has it that, in September 1224, shortly after receiving the stigmata, St Francis left the Sanctuary of La Verna to return to Assisi. He stopped at the Casella to admire the beautiful view one final time and, staring back at the Mount of La Verna, he said an emotional farewell to his spiritual home. He planted a wooden cross where he stood.
Following his death, locals from Caprese constructed a chapel on the location at which many small miracles had been observed.
Caprese is also well known for being the birthplace of the Renaissance master Michelangelo. It was known as Caprese until 1913; however, the locals decided to rename it with the addition of the name Michelangelo to pay tribute to their much-celebrated son.
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