Via Francigena

Day 108 – Brindisi to Torchiarolo: crossing the forest, we bump into archeology and tradition

The stage

Description:

👣 25 km by foot – Wednesday 13 October

A cloudy day, with a little bit of rain, along an entirely flat path. I also noticed that today’s stage was very well signposted, a great work done by the Brindisi e le Antiche Strade association that hosted us last night.
We very soon entered the Bosco di Cerano, with a nice change of landscape, switching from open fields to the woods, with many bamboo plants. We came to the archeological site of the ancient city of Velasio, where we could see the remains of the pre-Romanic Messapia tribe; this is another great example of the never-ending heritage and hidden jewels you can find in the South of Italy, which remain in the shade because simply there is too much heritage to discover and not enough money to restore and promote it. Here, in Velasio, we met Gianni from the Pro Loco of Torchiarolo, who told us that these lands were taken away from a mafia boss a few years ago and are now in the property of local governments. These lands contain vineyards, olive and fruit trees (which we didn’t miss to enjoy), woods and crops.
We continued walking towards Torchiarolo and bumped into Sergio and Mariateresa, brother and sister and both members of the Pro Loco. They told us there was a last-minute addition to our program for the day and led us to visit the local blacksmith, Alex Pellegrino. Alex showed us how blacksmiths work and especially how they used to work with the old-school methods, beating hot iron with a special hammer. Our ambassador Marco tried to help him out and discovered how tiring and laborious this job is!
After this great detour we headed into the center of the small town of Torchiarolo. It’s impressive to think that, as we were told, in summer there’s 10 times more people in town than in winter, given that it’s so close to the sea and to other tourist destinations. Now we’re in low season – and it started raining again – so the center was quite empty.
After a resting break in our accommodation, we met up with the mayor of Torchiarolo and with other local administrations, which will host us in town. They had also put up a beautiful light installation in the main square on the occasion of our arrival: thank you Torchiarolo for a lovely welcome!

HIGHLIGHTS
– The change in landscape in the Bosco di Cerano
– The archeological site of the ancient city of Velasio
– A great welcome in the small town of Torchiarolo

TODAY’S WALKERS
Myra Stals, social media manager (EAVF)
Luca Bruschi, Director (EAVF)
Elena Dubinina, international relations manager (EAVF)
Martina D’Agostino, project assistant (EAVF)
Didier Morel, FFVF
Clair Waiss, FFRP
Clair Chevalier, FFRP
Pietro Oberto, RTR ambassador (@vivoecammino)
Marco Rustioni, RTR ambassador
Francesca and Joanne, Ragazze in Gamba
Old friends Alessio and Massimo
Sharon Di Cinci, videomaker
Several local walkers

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