The Verna Sanctuary

This Sanctuary is in the Tuscan Apennines. The mountain, covered by a monumental forest of beeches and firs, can be seen from all over the Casentino area and from the upper Tiberina valley; it is 1283 meters high and its shape is unmistakable, squared off on three sides.

Built on bedrock and surrounded by the forest, the large complex holds within its massive and sinuous walls many treasures of the spirit but also of art, culture and history.

In the summer of 1224 St. Francis retreated to the slopes of the Verna mountain for his customary periods of silence and prayer. During his stay he asked God to be allowed to take part, with all his being, in the Passion of Christ, a mystery of love and pain. The Lord listened to him and appeared to him as a crucified seraphim, leaving him as a gift the seals of his Passion. This did Francis become the image of Christ both outwardly and inwardly. The gift of the Stigmata and his lifetime example are the most precious gift Francis leaves to the friars on the Verna.

The complex heritage of St. Francis, besides being part of every friar’s life, is also the main message the community wishes to give to everyone who visits La Verna.

The miracle of the Stigmata, which is mentioned by Dante in his Divine Comedy (Paradise) is still commemorated with a solemn holiday. This is the message that the community still gives to pilgrims from Italy and abroad, along with spiritual counsel and food and shelter in the guesthouse.

The mountain, covered by a monumental forest of beeches and firs, can be seen from all over the Casentino area and from the upper Tiberina valley; its shape, squared off on three sides, is unmistakable.