Northern Lazio is volcanic. There are many thermal and mineral springs in the area; it has been considered a place of healing since Etruscan times. When Saint Francis first came here to the village of Sarteano, he spent time in a community of monks who cared for the sick. He sought his own, spiritual health in the wilds of the beech forest above the town.
Tom and I find the old path through the woods that leads to the empty Etruscan tombs where Saint Francis and the other friars spent much time in contemplation. The beeches create a natural cathedral of arching black branches and green light, its floor carpeted with fallen leaves.
Few pilgrims seek out this obscure spot, apparently. The tranquility and solitude are profound.