September 9

Autumn descends in the mountains. Pilgrim hit by car. Three breakfasts. Leave Tuscany and enter Lazio. Finish up in another lovely town.

Was almost the last one to leave; I was heading to the cafe with Fab at 6.45! Hadhad a quick bite at 6.15ish and still ate less than an hour later!

The weather was cold and misty. Radicofani is 850mts above sea level and today feels autumnal. The mist meant that we missed the expected panorama; in fact, visibility was about 50 feet. I could recite the guidebook, on the details, of the view but that would be silly.

During the foggy walk down towards Ripa, we meet an anxious hunter who’s dog has not returned.  In the gloomy descent, Fab and I discuss what a post-Human future might look like and it’s not all good! Glass can last 10,000 years but modern concrete won’t.

The route through this last section of Tuscany was along the Ex-Cassia, another long distance Roman road. Stop at a bar after 9am and it’s packed with last night’s hostel guests minus one. Staff miserable and appear over-worked.

An odd bunch of folk on the road this morning. An Italian couple, Fab, 5 Danish female pensioners, 2 Brazilians, and the British couple. The single Italian woman, from last night, has gone off piste!

We cross the regional boundary from Tuscany into Lazio, the final VF region, which also houses Rome. The transition was marked by no off road tracks after the first 2kms. The Cassia is a great road but its too fast and too busy to walk along. Find a large, recently dead, adult female badger, presumably hit by a vehicle. There’s some respite in the village of Centemo. It was where Galileo hid after being condemned to death by the inquisition. Today, it’s a pretty village, sadly, it’s water supply is currently contaminated with arsenic. It’s useful being able to read the notice above the tap!

We walked with V&G, the Italian couple, for the rest of today’s route up to Acquependente. The town is very nice. The hostel is a bit cramped and there are four of us men in a small room. I had to wait ages for a shower. The kitchen is small and ill-equipped, so I’ll be heading out for a large plate of the local handmade fresh pasta, Pici. Reminds me of the pasta my grandmother, Ada, used to make, known in Umbria as ciriole.

Didn’t eat pasta tonight but had risotto with zucchini instead. My stomach is bursting it’s so full. I will sleep well tonight. The large Greek guy recently arrived has opted to sleep on a spare bed in the lobby area. The guy in question is called Stephanos and is travelling from Rome to Canterbury. A sort of reverse Francigena, if you will!

It was he who was hit by a van a few days ago whilst walking the VF. He opted not to prosecute, which may not be the best decision as he’s not yet fully out of the woods re his injuries.

Two days of rain ahead of me. Tomorrow is Bolsena, by the lake of the same name. Tomorrow’s forecast suggests thunderstorms all day. Oh joy!

A quick update on my bites as I know you were waiting to hear. I got to 44 on my right leg and gave up counting . My ankles above the sock line are badly bitten. I don’t mean that the mosquitoes don’t know how to bite, I mean the sheer volume of the bites is worryingly widespread. The clustering on my face has given me a second cheek bone look. It looks ok from one side but from other perspectives I do have a certain Quasimodo about me!


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