A fairly short day that preceeds three longish ones. We started by following the spectacular Via Cava di Sant’Antonio. This is a road dug by the Etruscans into the limestone and still used today.
Hazelnut and olive groves mixed with the now ubiquitous wildflowers were the theme today.
Arriving midafternoon at our apartment in Vetralla gave us time to do some much needed laundry and the sun provided the drying. Not our favourite town. If you are ready for a rest day, go one stage further to Sutri!
Rain was in the forecast but we were lucky and experienced fair weather for all but the last hour of walking today.
Mostly woods walking on gentle trails and gradual climb.
Walked the second half with a lovely German pilgrim – Christiane. She was joined by her friend at Montefiscone and we all met for dinner that night.
The weather was quite grim when we arrive in town so pretty much hunkered down in our cold (again, until we asked for heat) room.
Of note… we passed the 100 km to Rome line today!
Our friend’s German guidebook said it is manditory to have a stamp from the Church just outside town (left side of route) to receive the pilgrims’ certificate in Rome. Proves you walked the minimum 100 km for this. The stamp is self serve on the outside of a garage like structure just to the right of church. Thus factoid never came up in other guides or web sites so who knows?
Footnote: The representative at the Pilgrims’ office in Rome barely glanced at our passport stamps before issuing our testamonials.
We started this day with a breakfast covered in sugar ants. Yum.
Walked into town and stopped at a bar for a coffee. That’s when we discovered a tick burrowed into Rand’s forearm.
My close vision being the best, it fell to me to dig it out with tweezers from a Swiss Army knife. A tick ‘lifter’ which we have, unused, at home, would have been more re-assuring. Lyme disease is present in Italy, and we have gone through a lot of tall brush, so we are checking ourselves pretty rigorously now. Then to the farmacia for a 10€ tube of antibiotic cream we are now afraid to throw away.
First half of the walk was, briefly on the side of a highway, then off across relatively flat and scenic farmland. Very pleasant.
A massive car rally was taking place this weekend – hundreds of performance cars through the ages – roadsters to lamborghinis. We learned that the teams pay 7000 € to participate in this three day event, 1000 Miglia 2019. Uncounted zoomed past us at crossroads and during our lunch stop.
Had pizza and beer in San Lorenzo Nuovo, the midway point for this stage. Randy had a true Quattro Stagione.
Might have overindulged as we were pretty slow and drowsy on the second half. Here we traversed a beautiful oak forest and then had views of lake Bolsena and amazing fields of wildflowers- poppies offset with blue, purple and yellow blooms. Pictures just can’t capture this.
Arrived Bolsena, where we planned to enjoy a rest day, with a lakefront terrace room splurge. Sun. Prosecco. Cleaned clothes drying in a warm breeze. It was going to be awesome!
The VF is very well signed and in theory a walker could simply show up and follow the signs to Rome.
The route markers generally take three forms – sign posts, concrete ‘mini’ milestones and stickers.
Four years ago while on a driving holiday in Italy we bought a 1:50,000 VF map of Tuscany. This is useful for planning purposes and for our Tuscan section I carried this in my front pocket for quick reference.
We noticed a guidebook that seemed to be very popular with the pellegrinos crowd we were meeting. I took a peek at the French edition and was impressed with the layout and maps. The tourist office at Monteriggioni was selling the English version so I grabbed it for €20. ‘The Via Francigena’ by Terre de Mezzo publisher. Highly recommended.
The official Via Francigena web site is excellent and broken down by stages.
Nice features include downloadable stage pdfs formatted for smart phones and downloadable route onto the Maps.me app.
Maps.me is a great app. You download the maps you need so no data reception is required. The route can be downloaded on this through the VF site. This feature will use your phone’s gps and place you on the route. It only activates the phone”s gps when app is open so minimal battery usage.
We also use maps.me for planning purposes. If you zoom way in on the route you can often see agri-tourismos you would never be able to locate any other ways and plan rest breaks at tiny little bars.