28 may 2023 - Detour, see this page
Leaving behind the more anthropized part of the route, this stage leads to San Leo, the place that inspired the Way and one of the most visited villages in the Montefeltro area.
From the Monastery of Santa Croce, we reach the beautiful historic town of Verucchio, which stands on a rocky promontory overlooking the Marecchia Valley and is dominated by the Malatesta fortress. A secondary road leads downhill to the Marecchia River and follows it for several kilometres along a dirt track. In summer, having reached the cliff of Madonna di Saiano, it is worth taking advantage of the small mobile bridge to ford the river, and making a short diversion to climb to the small hermitage before returning.
From Ponte Santa Maria Maddalena, we leave the valley floor again and climb along country lanes, surrounded by the landscape of the middle and upper valley. We reach the ancient Monastery of Sant’Igne, built on the site where Francis and Brother Leo bivouacked the night before entering San Leo, and thus an obligatory stop for pilgrims.
Another couple of kilometres and we reach San Leo, with spectacular views of the cliff and the mighty fortress.