👣 20 km by foot – Friday 3 September
Today we walked in the shade – hurray! It gives you a lot more energies to walk in a shady and fresh environment in hot summer days. Olive trees, vineyards and even hazelnut trees continuously surrounded us on today’s trail, and Lake Bolsena was always visible in the background, on our right. We are walking in the territory of Tuscia, named so because of the Etruscans, who lived in this area (even though Tuscia used to be much wider than this) before the Romans.
Halfway through our stage, we were joined by a large group of walkers representing the Via Romea Germanica, another ‘road to Rome’ and another historical pilgrimage route that connects Stade, close to Hamburg, in Germany, to Rome. Exactly in this spot, the two routes join, before converging into the Holy City. Here we took a little detour, following the Via Cassia Antica route to see the beautiful ‘Basolato’ ancient Roman road. It’s incredible to think about it: Romans, more than 2000 years ago, were walking on these exact same stones!
Believe it or not, today we had no meetings along our way. This is why we arrived in Montefiascone already at 1.30 pm and had our lunch there. Montefiascone is a very important milestone of the Via Francigena: when you arrive at one of the first churches, at the beginning of the town, you find a plate stating ‘100 km to Rome’…gosh, we’re really almost there! 💪
The municipality of Montefiascone, which is also an important sponsor of our ‘Road to Rome’ initiative, warmly welcomed us in its beautiful town. Our experience with this municipality always tells us that it cares very much for the Via and is always a frontrunner when it comes to support and cooperation for the enhancement of the route and its impact. Thank you for everything this municipality is doing for the Via Francigena!
Montefiascone is also at the heart of a wine region: Est! Est!! Est!!! It may sound funny, but this is not just the name of a wine, it’s the actual name of the territory where it is produced. Locals told me a great story about it: somewhere in between the 10th and the 12th centuries, a foreign bishop traveled to Rome. Before departing, he sent ahead a scout to look for the best wines along the route, for him to decide where to stop on his way. Wherever the scout would find a special wine, he would write ‘Est’ on the wall (meaning, in latin, ‘there is’). When the scout arrived here, he must have tasted the most amazing wine, because he wrote on the wall ‘Est! Est!! Est!!!’. How could we not stop for tastings here?! 🍷
We stopped at Bar Donnino, which hosted us together with the municipality for lunch. We had some official meetings with the municipality and witnessed the inauguration of a new tourist information point with services connected to the Via Francigena. We visited the Rocca dei Papi, city’s medieval castle with an amazing view over the lake – during sunset. We were hosted for dinner by Massimo, who I really want to thank, at his new Hostel 24, and slept at the nuns’ hospital: a proper pilgrim’s sleep.
I almost forgot to mention it: today we were gifted…I wouldn’t know how many bottles of wine! I have no idea how we are going to transport these, but I am definitely not going to decline the present. I guess the alternative is to drink it all up…ops! 😆
– Walking through Tuscia with a constant view of Lake Bolsena
– Converging with Via Romea Germanica!
– Discovering the story (and drinking) Est! Est!! Est!!! wine
Myra Stals, social media manager (EAVF)
Luca Bruschi, Director (EAVF)
Silvio Marino, Regione Lazio
Marguerite Bravay, RTR ambassador
Mary Jane, RTR ambassador
Enrico Baroni, videomaker
Eva Allevi and Linda Tambosi, Ragazze in Gamba
Members of CAI Viterbo
Group of walkers representing the Via Romea Germanica
Several local walkers