I bet all visitors in La Verna sometime will go back there. It happened to me longtime ago, after I went there for the first time with a high school trip. I was maybe 14 and I didnt care about traveling.. yes, it did happen! Later on during summer vacation, my mother, as she had relatives in the area and wanted to go visit, asked me if I would join the trip. I was really, really difficult to convince, but in the end I accepted. Oh mamma mia! Anyway, during our stay in Arezzo with the relatives, we found the time for a day out in La Verna, a place that was given to San Francesco by a local nobleman, where a monastery was built in the middle of woods.
The picture above maybe will not tell you so much, but if you notice that little person there, you will see also a door. If you open that door, I bet you will be speechless, with tears on your eyes, both for the beauty of the place, and for the sudden surprise of finding the forest upon opening the door.
I am sure not everybody in here is religious, let alone catholic. Myself I cannot consider possible the idea that man was unsaveable before the arrival of Jesus Christ. This said, the example of San Francesco who, some 800 years ago gave up everything to lead a poor life with his fellow humans and animals.. and the fact that San Francesco was indeed one of the very first writing, and very finely, in italian, well San Francesco for me is a must. Thanks maybe to the lack of gossip and informal records about so long ago, I have no reason to doubt even for a second the greatness of this man, who really sang a hymn to life and truth all his life. So whoever you are, whatever you believe or dont believe in, dont come tell me that La Verna didnt move you.
So, La Verna is spectacular but its not just the monastery, but the whole area itself. Near Emilia Romagna, Marche and bordering with Umbria, La Verna is definitely not the typical tuscan location, but more like the typical wonderworld that the Appennines provide us with all around Italy. You have to know that the Appennine mountains go from as north as Liguria all the way down to Calabria, so we can say that the spine of Italy is made of rocks, woods and grass which divides east and west, the warm Tirrenium in front of the Mediterranean and the cooler Adriatic facing the Balkans. The Appennines divide Italy, yet everywhere you will go in the Appennines, you will always find a particular atmosphere common to all of Italy.
Obviously, the right time to go there is in the middle seasons, especially spring. But many people go to La Verna in summer time to escape the heat of cities. Personally, I prefer less crowded months such as april, may, june or september. A good suggestion would be going when your favorite crop is growing.. its all about colors when nature is concerned, and the predominant one in winter time is white as the snow, so its probably not the best time to drive around these places. So, do visit when colors are sparkling.
Like I said, La Verna itself is a religious location, so for a convinced, hardcore atheist it might be a good location for a long discussion about the existence_non existence of the divine etc. Funny enough, this area is very popular among bikers, who love the breath taking roads with endless curves and valleys opening up the view. I guess bikers also like the place because of their heavy clothing which makes summer unbearable.. not enough of a reason to become christian tho, I guess..