👣 31 km by foot – Sunday 12 September
Here we are, at the 80th day of our Via Francigena adventure: even though our event is called Road to Rome, we go further on! We are missing 5 weeks and 1000 km to reach our final destination, Santa Maria di Leuca in Apulia.
This means that today we walked along the first stage of the Southern Via Francigena, recognized by the Council of Europe as a Cultural Route only 2 years ago. A new section of the route to discover, which we are happy to promote and get people to know!
Normally, today’s stage arrives to Castel Gandolfo, but we will sleep in Albano and therefore add a few km. We departed as a large group from San Peter, with the basilica behind us. At the Circo Massimo another large group joined us, leading us to be a group of about 70 people: more or less the same as at our arrival in Rome. This is a very beautiful stage, rich of incredible monuments, passing through the Colosseo and the ‘Foro Romano’, and much more to see in Rome before leaving.
Today is also a day of goodbyes and welcomes. Some colleagues left, others came back or joined for the first time, and the same goes for our ambassadors. We said goodbye to Andrea and Federica from Trip n’Roll and Crisula from @nonsoloporridge; instead, we welcomed Chiara and Augusto from Ciclowine – him already known during the cycling stages in Piemonte, Lombardia and Emilia-Romagna, whereas she just joined, a sommelier, the ‘wine’ part of the couple; Valentina with her BeBorghi blog; Joanne, a blogger finally writing about the Via Francigena in English; also the Gruppo dei Dodici joined, which ha been maintaining and promoting the Via Francigena in the South of Lazio already for a long time; some representatives of Nordic Walking Club Castelli Romani, Roberto Battista from Regione Lazio and some of our Ragazze in Gamba.
So we left towards the Appia Antica – leaving Rome, the Via connects to it. When you look at the map of the ‘Via Francigena del Sud’, you think something’s wrong with it when you see a straight line for 15/20 km…instead not! The ancient Romans were very good at creating long and straight roads, as this one. It then moves towards Brindisi: the Southern Via Francigena is actually the long road that leads to Jerusalem. From Brindisi, you go to either Otranto or Santa Maria di Leuca and from there you continue by boat towards Greece and Turkey and finally to Jerusalem. I wonder what it will become in the future, connecting even further places! It’s amazing to walk on such an ancient road, thinking about all those who walked it before us. There are monuments everywhere and of course we walked on the ancient ‘basolato’ stones, even finding a group of cows walking along the Appia Antica.
Today it was very hot: the thermometer touched 33°C and some of us had a hard time; luckily, just before arriving in Frattocchie, we were welcomed by a refreshment organized by Circolo Legambiente Appia Sud Il Riccio, together with the Library of Marino BiblioPop, who brought us fresh water and spoke to us about their projects.
From here we continued towards Castel Gandolfo, and after the uphill we had a nice view on a volcanic lake. We even met the mayor, happy to welcome us and interested in joining our association to contribute to the promotion of the Southern Via Francigena. A great news: the more we unite forces the easier it is to reach our goals.
We finally continued to Albano Laziale, where, together with the local administration, we visited the Museo Civico to conclude the day before our well-deserved rest. Tomorrow we continue our discovery of the South. I can’t wait to share with you everything we see in the next 5 weeks! Not many know that the Via continues after Rome, and we are here for this: stay tuned!
– Starting the Southern Via Francigena!
– Crossing Rome through the Colosseo, the Foro Romano and the Circo Massimo
– Walking with friendly cows on the Appia Antica
Myra Stals, social media manager (EAVF)
Angelo Fabio Attolico, referent for the Via Francigena nel Sud (EAVF)
Martina D’Agostino, project assistant (EAVF)
Marika Massotti, assistente social media (EAVF)
Chiara e Augusto (@ciclowine), RTR ambassador
Valentina Borghi (@BeBorghi), RTR ambassador
Joanne Roan (@joanneslongwalks), RTR ambassador
Roberto Battista, Regione Lazio
Nordic Walking Club Castelli Romani association
Pilgrims from the Ragazze in gamba group
Filippo Racanella, videomaker
Many local walkers!