Moving on to Abbadia San Salvatore & Day 9 on the Via Francigena

Though sunny below when we walked, Abbadia San Salvatore’s Monte Amiata kept its peak in the clouds.

Though sunny below when we walked, Abbadia San Salvatore’s Monte Amiata kept its peak in the clouds.

After a week in Montefiascone, it was finally time to move on. I’d finished my shingles meds, but the rash and pain remain … not insurmountable, just a constant annoyance. Our Plan B of establishing a base hotel and walking without packs has been working, albeit slowly. Better to be moving slowly, than not moving at all.

We moved to Abbadia San Salvatore on a rainy, raw day. At 2,500’ (850m) above sea level, Abbadia was quite cool and very damp. We chose a B&B (&Pizzeria) for our hotel… Albergo/Pizzeria La Bocca di Bacco (Mouth of Bacchus). It was a clean, basic room albeit cold and served its purpose as our base camp for a few days. Since it was too late for a walk on the VF, we explored the town. Here’s a sample of what we saw in Abbadia. Click on the thumbnails to enlarge the photos.

Next day, it was back to walking.

Day 9 – Abbadia San Salvatore to Acquapendente

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It was 45F and sunny when we stepped outside our room and began our walk to Acquapendente. There was lots of ‘down’ today, quite unusual and most welcome. There are two variations of the Via Francigena walk in this area. One takes the route through Abbadia San Salvatore as we did and the other, which is shorter but more challenging, goes through Radicofane. We chose the Abbadia route for a couple of reasons: 1) Until about 1200 AD, the Abbadia route was the traditional route and probably used by Sigeric the Serious; 2) though longer, the Abbadia route is less steep and less difficult. (Bingo, #2 says it all). We did, however, take pictures of Radicofane and from a distance, it was beautiful. We never felt the need to inspect it more closely.

Radicofane was high, high up. We appreciated the views from afar.

Radicofane was high, high up. We appreciated the views from afar.

We passed several pilgrims today, Italians and Germans mostly. We’ve determined that carrying packs is the great equalizer. No packs make up the difference in years. We sailed right past lots of young pilgrims and their packs and felt pretty good about it. In fact, we felt so good, we stopped in Ponte di Rigo and indulged in the Italian counterpart of a Dove bar.

The weather was perfect for walking… a bright blue sunny sky, a light breeze, cool in the shade, warm on the open road. We traveled mostly on old cart roads and backroads with little to no traffic. For a short spell, we walked along the SR2, a major highway which was not very pleasant, but got us where we needed to go.

A fun panino bar along the route

A fun panino bar along the route

There was minimal ‘up’ until we started climbing in Acquapendente and then it was up, up and more up - some grades as much as 15%. By the time we arrived in town, we were hot, dry, thirsty and in desperate need of a cold beer. We searched and searched and finally found a tiny pizzeria with cold beer on tap and pizza slices. Luscious!

No better reward than a cold beer and a slice at the end of a long day.

No better reward than a cold beer and a slice at the end of a long day.

We had checked and double-checked and triple-checked the bus schedule for our return trip to Abbadia. There were only four buses a day that made the trip and we would be catching the last bus of the day. The consequences for missing the bus would be substantial. We arrived at the bus stop a half hour early and waited patiently, hoping the bus would arrive. And it did … right on time. It was a relief to board the bus and collapse into a seat for the return trip to Abbadia.

Basilica del Santo Sepolcro … the end of the day’s walk to Acquapendente

Basilica del Santo Sepolcro … the end of the day’s walk to Acquapendente

Day 9 – Abbadia San Salvatore to Acquapendente

17.0 miles walked / 39,535 steps – Another record breaking day for most miles walked

Leg distance – 14.9 miles / 1153 miles to Canterbury