The other week, as I was popping down to the shops to buy some eggs, I noticed an odd sticker on a lamp post. It was a cartoon-ish figure of a pilgrim, and below it was an arrow labelled “Roma”.
“Odd choice of street art,” I thought. Except there, across the street, was another, placed exactly as if to show hikers that yes, they were right to cross the street and keep going.
Turns out, I live on a walking trail, the Via Francigena. Or rather, one of the Vie Francigene, since it turns out there’s several routes which diverge and converge as they make their way towards Rome. This clearly needed some exploring.
So after lunch I set out again towards the shops, and kept going. The trail headed for the river and more or less followed it exactly. That day, I made it to San Mauro, about 10km from central Torino, before I turned back and walked down the other side of the river.
So obviously, having reached San Mauro, the obvious thing to do was set out the next Saturday, get the bus to where I’d left off and keep going. The first 10 minutes was through the suburbs, and I wondered if I’d misjudged and was about to spend the next few hours walking past peoples’ apartments. From one of them, I could hear someone practising the piano, and old tune I couldn’t quite place (and they couldn’t quite play). It was a hot afternoon, and I was tempted to bail or at least make a substaintial gelato break before I went any further. But once I reached the farmland it was good going:
It took me a bit longer than I’d planned and I developed a good sized blister on the ball of my left foot, but I made it the 19 km to Chivasso which conveniently has a regular train service back to Torino. (I certainly wasn’t walking back!)
So. On to Rome??