Via Francigena

Day 72 – Proceno to Bolsena: discovering ancient traditions under a hot sun

The stage

Description:

👣 29 km by foot – Thursday 2 September

After a 6 km morning walk to leave Proceno, we arrived in Acquapendente. We were awaited at the gate of the town by a group of flag throwers in costumes that performed at our arrival and accompanied across the city center. Everyone in town was looking at us curiously! The Pro Loco Acquapendente association led us to a massive banquet they had organized for us, with fruit and vegetables: super refreshing and energizing, making me incredibly happy. 🍉😁

After filling our stomachs, we moved to the Cathedral of Acquapendente. Here, we witnessed a historical tradition of the town, the Pugnaloni: every year, on the third Sunday of May, different neighborhoods of the town prepare very large and tall paintings. These impressive artworks are created from panels, covered with flower petals and leaves, which are then painted over. This tradition was born in 1166 A.D., when Acquapendente was freed from its tyrant Barbarossa. It therefore symbolizes freedom from oppression, and each painting hides a different meaning in it, a different way of breaking free from tyranny, even in reference to contemporary political situations. 🌷

We then visited the crypt of the Cathedral, a copy of the Holy Sepulcher – the tomb of Jesus Christ – which Italians could visit more easily in difficult historical times, such as in the age of plague, than in Jerusalem. In this copy, there are three stones that, as they say, have Jesus’s blood stains on them!

After leaving this beautiful town, we walked on to San Lorenzo Nuovo, a hard section which, although quite flat, has no shade and no water fountains. If you are walking this section, come prepared and stock up with water in Acquapendente! ⚠️ The local authorities of San Lorenzo Nuovo know this, and welcomed us with fresh water, fruit and some sweets.

As soon as you leave San Lorenzo Nuovo, you find a first incredible view over Lake Bolsena. We walked in the forest after that, with the lake popping out now and then in our sight, but, despite the shade and easy trail, we were soon quite exhausted. By the time we arrived in Bolsena, it was almost 7 pm! Walking with little shade on a hot day, for a lot of kilometers, really tires you out, even when the section itself is not particularly tough. I really needed to sleep when we arrived to our daily destination, and I even skipped dinner. Yet, I managed to have a peak at the city center of Bolsena on my way to bed…I was very impressed by its beauty – I wish I had more energies to explore it right now!!

 

HIGHLIGHTS

– Eating a lot of fruit and veggies!

– The Pugnaloni ancient tradition of Acquapendente’s inhabitants

– The first beautiful view of Lake Bolsena

 

TODAY’S WALKERS

Myra Stals, social media manager (EAVF)

Martina D’Agostino, project assistant (EAVF)

Silvio Marino, Regione Lazio

Marguerite Bravay, RTR Ambassador

Mary Jane, RTR Ambassador

Enrico Baroni, videomaker

Eva Allevi, Ragazze in Gamba association

Alessandro Selbmann and other members from CAI Viterbo

Several local walkers

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