The Bosco di San Francesco, a property of the FAI – Fondo Ambiente Italiano, is an intact portion of the Umbrian landscape, a place of harmony and peace at the foot of the grandiose Basilica of San Francesco in Assisi.
Extending over 64 hectares, it is crossed by about 5 kilometers of well-marked paths that allow a suggestive visit to the valley of the Tescio stream. Here woods of downy oaks, hornbeams and holm oaks alternate with olive groves and clearings that neglect had reduced to a landfill and that the FAI after the donation by Intesa Sanpaolo in 2008
has entirely restored, recovered and reopened to the public in 2011.
The Bosco di San Francesco is one of over thirty properties in Italy that the FAI takes care of every day. Abbeys, villas and gardens, castles and unforgettable landscapes, places whose beauty the Foundation protects and whose soul and history is committed to telling with rigor and passion, so that they can be discovered and spent unforgettable moments.
In the Bosco di San Francesco, in addition to the paths, the testimonies of a medieval microcosm inhabited by Benedictine nuns between the 13th and 17th centuries have been restored and reopened to the public: a monastery with the remains of the ancient “hospital” that assisted the sick and pilgrims and which today houses the FAI information point, the small Romanesque church of Santa Croce, a medieval mill that today houses the typical restaurant, the Osteria del Mulino and, a little further on in the valley, a fourteenth-century tower defending an ancient factory. The restored tower dominates and allows you to admire from above the land art “Terzo Paradiso” made with 121 olive trees arranged in a double row to form three large circular elements tangential to each other, a work donated to FAI by Master Michelangelo Pistoletto.
Thanks to an innovative landscape recovery, the FAI has enhanced about 1,000 olive trees of local varieties, part of which give life to the land art “Terzo Paradiso”, also restoring the typical dry stone walls. A careful management of the environmental sustainability of the olive groves allows the production of a quality extra virgin olive oil that can be purchased in the visitor center. And the typical activities of olive grove management
how the pruning and harvesting of olives become, together with tasting and shopping, an exclusive tourist experience that is very welcome to visitors.
The Wood is open to the public from March to January and in the spirit of the FAI’s mission (care, education and vigilance) it is a place to love and experience: every year there are over 25,000 visitors who choose to spend a day taking part in the numerous events that are organized there, for educational activities, guided tours or simply taking a walk. Ultimately, the Bosco di San Francesco is the ideal destination for those who want to spend a day in a unique place in the world between nature, mysticism, art, history and why not, even good food.