Via degli Dei 1: All hail porticos

If there is a verb for walking under porticos – porticoing, for example – we thoroughly porticoed this morning.

Our day started in a state of some stress as a lack of communication from the local people who organised our accommodation and bag transport led us to worry we’d been ripped off. It all turned out fine for Jennifer’s Birthday and we started our walk from Bologna to Florence with a very useful briefing from an experienced guide.

Then it was off on our own under the porticos. We were under porticos for the next 6 kilometres. We appreciated the fact they kept the rain off us, but the repetition of columns and arcades began to feel like being trapped in an Escher picture. The walk through the porticos to the San Lucas Church was quite uphill, but hard to complain when we passed someone doing it on their knees.

San Lucas

After recovering at the church, which sits neatly on top of a hill, we set out on country paths through oak forest and thickets of yellow broom. The morning passed with little periods of light rain and then bright Sunshine. We walked down the hill and then through dappled paths alongside a river.

After a picnic lunch stop we – and boy was this lucky – took a detour to see a local palazzo. As we approached the palazzo the rain got heavier, and by the time we sat down with a coffee it moved through torrential and right up to full-on hail storm. The lucky bit was being able to sit dry inside watching the courtyard turn into an icy lake.

After about an hour we finally decided the rain had reached a bearable level and donned our full wet weather gear for the first time in ages. It was another hour’s walk to Sasso Marconi where we are spending the night and we were dry but bedraggled when we finally arrived.

Luckily the rain eventually relented. The restaurant in our little hotel is closed tonight so we had to walk a fair way to find food. Food was pizza – because we’re in Italy, and because we don’t trust the rain not to return and the pizza restaurant was open. Jennifer’s Birthday dinner is going to have to wait.

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