|To go to Montecasale, not too far from Sansepolcro, you have to climb the hill
facing the Alta Valle del Tevere, which is characterised by the Appennines that here
divide the Marche from Tuscany and Umbria; it's a solitary place where the forest is
interrupted only by the greyness of the monastery.
Since the Roman times a street
crossed this mount and went down to the Marche through a cows path. The place was
obviously important, held by a fortress; it belonged to the Bofolci family and it was
destroyed in 1187. Then a law from the 24 Signori who ran the municipality of Sansepolcro
forced the owners to move to the town.
On the remains of the
castle the Camaldolesi monks built a hospital for pilgrims: the" S. Maria
Hospital" of Montecasale. They gave it to San Francesco in 1212 in occasion of many
sermons made by him in the church. He saw in these mounts the perfect place to communicate
his charity and love to others.
Now there are no more
fortresses or human traces but just the loneliness of these mountains. You can visit the
cells of S. Bonaventura, a Francescan monk of 1257. Of this Tuscan Sanctuary they talk
about in the hagiographic literature: miracles and stories the most famous of which is the
one about the convertion of three thieves who became monks in the monastery. It's very
interesting to see S.Francesco's bed in the rock, in a cave next to the church dedicated
to the Madonna; inside it you can immediately notice the altar in wood where a wooden
statue of the Madonna is settled (XIII/XIV cent.)
The legend says that
San Francesco brought it here in 1213 which is very improbable for dating reasons.
Outside, in the piazza, you can enjoy a dizzy image of the Valtiberina, at the back, the
grey rock of Poggio della Rocca, down to the valley, a stream, the Spiciolo, on the rock
of the Sasso Spicco, a huge rock that stands out for 60 is a place of loneliness and