Day 3-Via Francigena – Campagnano di Roma to Sutri

The main plaza in Campagnano’s historic district was pretty deserted when we left in the morning. Italy does not rise early.

The main plaza in Campagnano’s historic district was pretty deserted when we left in the morning. Italy does not rise early.

Yesterday’s rain and hail left us with wet feet/socks and ultimately a mongo blister blossomed on my left foot despite my fancy Injinji toe socks. I blame the wet rather than the socks or shoes. I bandaided-up and hoped for the best as we set out this morning.

Excuse the ugly feet… it’s why I wear socks.

Excuse the ugly feet… it’s why I wear socks.

Our accommodation at Andre’s House, though interesting, had been cold and damp. Additionally, the host had no ‘stamp’ for our Pilgrim’s passport. We wasted a mile of walking and about an hour, figuring out where to get a stamp in town in the early morning. Finally, a larger hotel in town gave us the stamp we needed and we trudged along on our way. Note that in order to prove we walked the entire distance of the VF, we need to provide a daily record (stamp) showing our progress through each town in which we have stayed.

On a sunny morning, we walked back down the steep road outside the Castagnano city walls.

On a sunny morning, we walked back down the steep road outside the Castagnano city walls.

Last night’s rain left huge puddles in our path this morning. Some could be skirted and others expanded across the road requiring some fancy maneuvering to escape getting wet feet again. There were lots and twists and turns and different roads during our walk today. Sometimes we walked along busy roads without sidewalks, but other times we were on country lanes or footpaths where the pastoral scenes, olive groves, vineyards and fields of daisies and bright red poppies spread out before us like an artist’s canvas. This is the Italy we came for.

Fields of poppies lay before us … an artist’s canvas.

Fields of poppies lay before us … an artist’s canvas.

We met 10 pilgrims during the course of the day… from Norway, Singapore, China, Sweden and Italy. Quite the United Nations. Some stopped to chat, others passed with a quick Buon Camino hail.

As we approached one farm, in the distance we heard the sound of barking dogs, lots of them as if there was a dog pound nearby. It appears they were all part of the same farm, all enclosed behind a sturdy fence, thank goodness. They were obviously quite agitated with our presence and a good pilgrim for lunch was clearly on their minds. We would encounter this same scenario several times during this day and following days. There never seemed to be just one dog, always a pack and always barking, growling, baring teeth and snarling at us. They would race along the fence, throwing themselves at us. We had our trekking sticks handy just in case, but haven’t had to use them…yet.

Cats are so much more subtle when they’re spying.

Cats are so much more subtle when they’re spying.

We stopped at an ancient Roman waterfall for a rest, thinking we’d get a closer look of the falls after our snack. Out of nowhere, a busload of grade school students appeared with their teachers about three minutes after we sat down. It was a school field trip evidently and they totally and noisily took over the place. We opted to move on without a closer look at the falls.

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We saw signs for Monte Gelato and our hearts lept for joy. What an inducement to climb a mountain.. Monte (mountain) meant another steep, uphill climb… bah! But…Gelato (ice cream), on the other hand, might make it worth the climb. Unfortunately, only the steep climb was involved. There was no huge ice cream sundae waiting for us at the top of the hill. Major disappointment of the day!


A stop at a  caffetteria  in the pleasant little town of Monterossi for coffee and a croissant helped us overcome our earlier ice cream disappointment and provided a great little pick-me-up for completing the rest of this particularly long day.

A stop at a caffetteria in the pleasant little town of Monterossi for coffee and a croissant helped us overcome our earlier ice cream disappointment and provided a great little pick-me-up for completing the rest of this particularly long day.

Sutri in sight … just a little further… up the hill!

Sutri in sight … just a little further… up the hill!

After the steep descent from Campagnano in the morning, we were oh so delighted to see the particularly steep ascent at the end of the day in order to enter to the walled city of Sutri and find our room for the night at Platea Oche. Once again, the outside was unimpressive except for the Etruscan doorknockers.

We’re told that several towns will now sell buidlings in the old historic districts for €1 on the condition that the buyer will invest money to renovate the deteriorating buildings. The gentrification of medieval Italy.

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We called our host and waited for about 20 minutes. Once inside, the apartamento was absolutely lovely. It was bright and airy with a kitchen and shuttered windows in the bedroom that opened to great views of the landscape below including the white graveled path we would walk in the morning. There was even a washing machine to use which turned out to be a hassle, since once the clothes were washed, it was a challenge to dry them.

The views from our rooms at the top of Sutri’s walled city were expansive.

The views from our rooms at the top of Sutri’s walled city were expansive.

We explored the nearby piazza (plaza) and found a small grocery (alimentaria) for our evening dinner- picnic supplies. Breadsticks for tomorrow’s walk, fresh cheese, olives and a bottle of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. A panaderia provided a couple of baguettes. Our evening meal totaled €11, about US$12.40. We pilgrims are staying on budget.

Day 3 – 16.55 miles walked/ 38,419 steps / This is the longest distance we have ever walked in a day

Leg distance: 14.75 miles - 1229 miles to Canterbury