After a nice rest day (with road trip!) in Bolsena it is time to hike on. I’m following the via francigena further north. My dad still can’t hike, so Lorenzo from our B&B brings him by car! From Bolsena the next stop is Acquapendente. Halfway is the town of San Lorenzo Nuovo.
5 years ago I also hiked through San Lorenzo Nuovo. It was raining and I was just having a generally shitty day. In the central square of San Lorenzo there was this porchetta (Italian pork roast) stand. The owner, Mauro, gave me a free porchetta sandwich 5 years ago. This time, he was there again. Telling me he has worked there for 14 years, and before him his father had this porchetta stand. I told him how we met 5 years ago and that I wanted to pay double for my porchetta sandwich. But he wouldn’t let me pay again, no matter how hard I tried! Also generally speaking, the people here are so friendly! Trying to help out with everything. Going the extra mile for us… Fantastic!
Acquapendente is small, quiet town. We had a great lunch at Il Borgo, and we had a laugh with the hostess, Louisa. We slept at the church with the other pilgrims. The next day was supposed to be a hard day, with a >500m climb at the end to Radicofani. It was hard to find transport for my dad to Radicofani, but in the end we found a really early bus (6.49AM!) that could get him there (at least over halfway).
So the next day he took the bus, and I cheated a bit as well, since the first 10km were on the main road. I do not feel like walking a boring part on a big road with cars speeding past me, I wouldn’t be the first pilgrim to get killed by a car. The second part though, hiking up to Radicofani was certainly beautiful. The best walk so far! We finally reached Tuscany (Toscana) and the landscape is very recognizable from all the picture perfect postcards.
Radicofani is situated near a hilltop, and on the top is the old castle of Ghino di Tacco. A 13th century outlaw, popular bandit and sort of Robin Hood. The views from the castle are beautiful.
From Radicofani we made our way down to San Quirico d’Orcia (with a steep climb near Bagni Vignoni). There is a mountainbike race going on right now from Rome to Lake Garda (The Italy divide). When I hiked this steep climb, I met a cyclist from Holland, Bas, and we hiked up together, talking about everything and nothing. This cycling race is really heavy, following mostly dirt roads, over 900km long and over 25,000m climbing!
San Quirico is lovely, but it also means we are back on the touristic track. Prices are higher and streets are more crowded. We walked around, taking some pictures.
Today we had a rest day (from hiking). And we spent it visiting Pienza and Montepulciano. Pienza is the birthplace of some popes and plays some sort of central role in the renaissance. Montepulciano, of course, is known for its wine. The Vino Nobile, from Sangiovese grapes, it has a very full flavor, definitely on our favorites list.
And now we’re celebrating the last night that my dad joined me. He is leaving tomorrow. We are waiting for two friends from Holland, Systke and Anne, to join me. A dopo!