👣 17 km by foot – Friday 10 September
Today is the day!!!
There were so many people walking with us today into Rome, that I cannot make a list of today’s walkers.
A crazy, busy, overwhelmingingly emotional day.
The first section of the route from La Storta towards Rome is not particularly handsome, but we didn’t really care. Of course, we are crossing the suburbs of a metropolitan city, so we didn’t expect to find the landscapes of Val d’Orcia or Tuscia. Nevertheless, we walked through the beautiful natural reserve of the Insugherata, located inside the city, which has recently been made accessible thanks to the removal of an illegal gate that was hindering the passage of pilgrims. It was a great surprise to find such a green charming space while walking into Rome.
What I enjoyed the most about today’s walk was the evident and highly symbolic difference between our slow traveling and the busy city life and traffic rush hours. Every time we would cross a street, we would block the traffic of the whole street for a few minutes and car drivers would honk at us and get irritated. Isn’t this somehow the message at the root of slow movement?
I spent most of the day live streaming for our arrival in Rome and interviewing our guests – it was a lot of fun! It was great to share this experience with such a large group.
The itinerary we followed today is not official (yet) and goes through some quiet neighborhoods, avoiding the really wide and trafficked streets. Also, this path leads quickly and directly to Saint Peter’s church, passing through the ‘Belvedere’ in Monte Ciocci, a panoramic spot from which we could already see the dome. We all stopped there, flabbergasted by this amazing scene – by the sight of our first true destination.
At this point we were all thrilled and couldn’t wait to arrive.
We continued walking and soon arrived at the walls of the Vatican State. We had a brief stop and the Gruppo dei Dodici association joined us. They played music and performed for us, and with them we walked on.
It was at this point that we arrived at Saint Peter’s square, aside EAVF’s president Massimo Tedeschi, who was carrying the pilgrim’s stick. It was a beautiful moment: I looked at the faces of all my travel companions, their big smiles, a few tears…I was incredibly moved.
This touching moment was soon over, as the police came over and asked us to stop making music, stop filming, and stop attracting the attention of passing byers. They needed to check whether we were allowed to do all this. I must say – they kind of ruined our moment, even though we understand they have to do this.
We arrived, and nobody can take that away from us! We took a lot of pictures, got our stamps, our testimoniums, and had an important institutional meeting in the evening with Associazione Civita, with promising developments for the future of the Via Francigena.
I can’t believe it yet… Luckily tomorrow we have a rest day, so I have the time to realize I’ve walked all the way to Rome.
What could be more than arriving to Saint Peter?!
Way, way, way too many to remember!