Via Francigena

Day 45 – Châtillon to Verrès: sometimes a beautiful landscape means the climb will be steep

The stage

Description:

👣 19km on foot – Wednesday 4 August

An easier stage than yesterday’s, few! Yet, another day full of castles – they’re literally everywhere around us: a magical landscape.
Today we split in two groups. Our ambassadors Diego Passoni and Sergio Valzania with their friends and family decided to walk with their own rhythm and meet up in Verrès. Our group, instead, walked with a local guide, Donato, who explained all kinds of characteristics of the area.
It was another day of ups and downs: although it would be easier, we barely ever walk inside the Aosta Valley, as it is very narrow and the main roads run across it. Instead, we started off today with a steep climb, a good warm-up to begin the day (some morning stretching would have been good), walking on the slopy side of the valley towards Verrès. Again, we followed a couple of ‘ru’, the manmade rivers that carry water for houses and crops, which I wrote about yesterday.
After the climb, we reached a flat section where the mayor of Saint-Vincent joined us, proudly carrying the pilgrim’s stick into his town. Saint-Vincent is not yet part of the European Association of Via Francigena ways, so he asked many questions and showed a lot of interest in joining. This is the kind of achievements we seek with Road to Rome: expanding EAVF’s network means developing the Via Francigena more and more, and with it the facilities and services along the trail! We were happy to see how affectionate the mayor had become to the initiative and – more materially – to the pilgrim’s stick, which he was sad to give back to us.
We managed to get it back, and brought it to the mayor of Montjovet, another municipality which is not yet member of the association. We answered all his questions as well, until we got too distracted by the wonderful buffet with local specialties (like fontina, lardo, salami, and local wine – yum!) that had been prepared for us.
After lunch break, we headed out to Verrès and a light rain started: today the weather was a bit gloomy. At this point we came to our final but VERY steep climb, which was also quite difficult because of the wet ground. The mixture of sweat for the climb and heavy humidity in the air made us as damp as after a shower, and we couldn’t wait for it to be over. Finally, the climb ended, followed by a steep downhill leading us into Verrès.
Here, we were welcomed by the municipality and by some local associations, as well as people in historical costumes, the local Alpines, and firefighters. We received water bottles with the logo of Verrès – a gift I was very happy about, as Road to Rome aims to avoid plastic use as much as possible, and disposable water bottles are one of the key plastic sources we must cut out.
Now it’s time for dinner and relaxation. I’m a little excited about tomorrow’s stage, in which (spoiler alert) we will cross the Fort of Bard, which was filmed in the Avengers movies! Good night!

HIGHLIGHTS
– Beautiful views over the Aosta Valley
– Mayors excited to learn about EAVF
– Warm welcome in Verrès and Montjovet

TODAY’S WALKERS
Myra Stals, Social Media Manager (EAVF)
Luca Faravelli, Project Manager (EAVF)
Laurette Forment (Regione Valle d’Aosta)
Donato Arcaro, local guide
Luciana de Michele (Ragazze in Gamba)
Diego Passoni, dj (Radio Deejay) + friends
Sergio Valzania + family
Giulia Bertolazzi, video maker
A lovely group of local walkers

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