Pilgrimage in Italy: from Stroncone to Fonte Colombo near Rieti

One of many very old Maronite trees

Although I am so often in awe of nature, amazing trees, mosses, flowers and the beauty of the way itself, there are things which are very disturbing.

Italy allows hunters to shoot singing birds. On the way down from Romita, I saw an artificially built landing and feeding place for birds with a hidden hunters house down below.

Singing bird traps

Also, especially in Umbria, forests are fenced in. Nearly every private owner of a forest builds high iron fences around it. Forest animals cannot move freely anymore ( I did not see one deer, rabbit, wild pig…). I wondered if this is done because of hunting too.

In Italy, many people buy water in plastic bottles. Some people are smart enough to go to an old well to get good drinking water.

Outside of Stroncone, where a couple got drinking water from a well. The public water tastes bad, they said.

I was in awe about the Maronite trees

The way from Stroncone to the Sanctuary of Creccio ( where St. Francis celebrated Christmas the first time with living animals) was a pleasant walk up to a nearly 1000 meter high pass and down into the Rieti area. The high plateau is solitary and open.

The cow with the name Stella came to the owner when called.

A toilet as art work in the middle if nature

Sanctuary of Greccio

I stayed overnight one kilometer before Greccio. When I booked the place, I was not aware of the location and did not know that the house was empty. The next morning, I wanted to leave early and stepped out into the open to check the weather. In a second , the door closed behind me! There was no way to get in anymore! Here I was in my underwear, socks and T- shirt. I was lucky that I wore at least something and just by coincidence knew, where the owner lived in town. I went to the village on a public street, knocked him out of bed and was mad- how could he install such a stupid door!

Greccio in the morning

Torre in Greccio


The town Contigliano

Gorgeous overgrown pathways

Amazing trees in a sunken way.

In the middle of a meadow stood a former chapel , where I had a super lunch

However, the day continued to have challenges. Thunderstorms were approaching and soon heavy rain pounded down on me. I lost my way in the rain and found it again, but when I arrived at the Sanctuary Fonte Colombo, I was ready to stop. The hermitage had places to sleep. I was the only guest. I could have dinner and breakfast with the friars , who were very warmly welcoming me. Only when I was staying there, I realized that it was here, where St. Francis was treated with an hot iron rod to cure his eye illness ( obviously, it failed) and where he wrote down the Franciscan rules.

Born and raised in a village along the Danube in Austria, Traude Wild soon ventured out into the world. After a two-year program for tourism in Klesheim/Salzburg, she spent nearly a year in South Africa and Namibia. By returning back to Austria, she acquired a Master of Economics at the University of Vienna. After moving to the United States with her four children, she studied Art History at Arizona State University and stayed in the United States for fourteen years. Here, she was teaching Art History in several Universities like Webster University and University of Missouri-St. Louis. Now, she lives partially in Arizona and Vienna and works together with her husband for the University of South-Carolina, Moore School of business as Adjunct Professor organising and leading Study tours in Central Europe. She also teaches at the Sigmund Freud University in Vienna. Since 1999, she is practicing Zen meditation in the lineage of Katagiri Roshi. She loves to hike and to write and is a student of Natalie Goldberg. During her often many weeks long hikes she brings her awareness into the Here and Now, describing her experiences in an authentic way. She loves to walk pilgrimages. The longest hike so far was the 1,400 km long 88 Temple pilgrimage in Shikoku, Japan in 2016.

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