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  • Writer's pictureNikki Martinez

Trail to Tranquilty: South Tyrol's Sentiero di San Francesco

Updated: Aug 17, 2022

South Tyrol travel
A castle keeps watch over Sand in Taufers, South Tyrol.

When we travel, I usually have the good seat: the passenger one.

It’s John, my husband, who drives.

He skillfully navigates hairpin curves along narrow mountain trails, avoiding oncoming cyclists on one side, and walls of snow or sleet on the other.

I get to settle snugly in the seatbelt, eyes transfixed on the tranquil views above.

Glorious gorges, glimmering lakes, perfectly idyllic paths, and feudal castles are fantastic backdrops for writing sleep stories.

And when we finally arrive at our destination, it’s more than just the road journey I look back on.

It’s remembering 13 years of learning how to navigate LIFE together, parenting two children, and…all the adventures, mishaps, and learning that come with that!

Nikki Voice Arts Travel Stories
Trekking through South Tyrol. Some call it Italy's Best-Kept-Secret.

Nikki Martinez Voice Arts Travel
The River Ahr flows through the little village of Sand in Taufers.

This summer, we spent a lot of time on the road, some with the kids, and some, just us two. The tranquil village of Sand in Taufers was one of those spontaneous drives.

Set in a lush valley with the Dolomites in the distance, it was the perfect place to combine and active (trekking) and relaxing (spa) weekend. Since Roman times, these places were sought after for their flowing, healing, mineral waters.

Taking the footpath along the Ahr river, we decided the water, too, and see where it led.

Signposts told us were on the "Sentiero di San Francesco" (Way of St. Francis), a trail designed for quiet contemplation and meditation.

Nikki Martinez Voice Arts & Travel
A meditative spot along Sentiero di San Francesco

Named after Saint Francis of Assisi, this easy path led through an evocative forest, before arriving at three magical waterfalls.

The contrast of the water’s power, gracefully swaying trees, and a silent forest, seemed the perfect dance of nature.

We ended our trekk with some jogging through the straighter paths, before a slight ascent to the Burg Taufers castle.

Getting out in Nature reminded me that we need the still waters, as much as the grand waterfalls. Life is lived, not in a series of silent frames, but a road that winds through all kinds of villages.

Having a partner to navigate them with is a gift I'm grateful for.

Do you remember the Prayer of St. Francis?

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; when there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood, as to understand, to be loved as to love; for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying [to ourselves] that we are born to eternal life.”

This waterfall reminded me that there is beauty in both stillness and movement.

We can still find calm in the chaos and chasms of living.

Trivia: The movie "Just Married" was filmed here. It tells the tale of a newly married couple in Europe.

Some beautiful sculptures were fixed at certain points on the trail. This one depicts a female figure reaching for the others.

If you are on the road or in the air this Summer, I wish you clear skies, and safe passages through every storm.

What beautiful discoveries in nature have you made recently?


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