Day 74 – Today in Tuscany

Many fellow British people come to Tuscany for their summer holidays and you can see why. The landscape is magnificent, the food and wine hits the spot and the weather, of course, is most pleasant. Add to that, lashings of gelato and you have everything you could want Perhaps a good book or two and an iPod full of music and you are in Heaven. Am I the only person left with an iPod? I’ve even forgotten how to load music on it but it doesn’t matter because it’s full. But I left it at home this time.

The Via Francigena has truly come alive in Italy. It is well sign posted and the facilities for pilgrims are good. Most stages seem to have one or two bars where you can shout Frazzante! to quench your thirst and most towns have a bakery which is open even at the early hours when we depart, 5.30. The hostels can be good or bad. We slept in a filthy little stuffy room in Miradolo Terme but have had four good hostels in a row: Fornovo di Taro, Cisa Pass, Pontremoli and tonight in Aulla. These hostels are often attached to the Church and manned by volunteers. They ask for a donation (10 Euro is expected) and are clean and welcoming. If cash is a problem you can do some chores instead.

From our experience so far the hostels are more empty than full. Last night we had the entire dormitory to ourselves and today we have one other person in our room. It’s a great place to meet other pilgrims.

This morning we slammed the gate of the castle and lowered the drawbridge at 5.30 then set off down the narrow streets of Pontremoli. I was drawn to the smell of baking croissants in the bakery and we entered the shop next door to buy a couple. What a great start to the day. By the time we reached Filattiera, we were ready for the reception we received st the Bar 2000. The owner spoke some English and soon had a giant cappuccino and pain aux raisins on our table together with the giant Frizzante and juice. We had a second Frizzante stop in Filetto before completing the 32km stage to Aulla.

Our early morning departure from Pontremoli

Beautiful walking in Tuscany

These things are everywhere

A dream Tuscan villa

This is the relic of the local patron saint. You could be forgiven for thinking Pirates of the Caribbean

9 comments on “Day 74 – Today in Tuscany

  1. Peter Mastenko

    A Tuscany walking holiday is now on my to-do list!

  2. Hi, Tim – On the Camino, my husband and I usually stopped walking at roughly 25K per day. I’ve noticed on your blog that you are tending to walk much longer distances. Are 25K walking distances doable in terms of accommodation, or should I start bracing myself?

    • Hi I also like 25km on the Camino. Any faster and you miss things. But we are walking 2200km so we are happy to push it. In Italy the official AEVF stages are well defined, 45 stages over 1000km. You can adjust your stages according to accommodation and there are more hotels and B&Bs than hostels along the way. You will have to be flexible so if 25km is your maximum you may have to do shorter days on occasion and that will add to the trip length. Most stages are around 25 or less. Some pilgrims are happy to take a train or bus part of the stage, you don’t see that on the Camino. Tim

  3. I have an ipod nano even has FM radio

    • Gosh I don’t remember the FM radio module. I would like that on my travels

  4. Calum McLean

    I have a classic iPod Tim, until that is, I left it on a plane a few weeks ago – I’m still in mourning… BTW, why is it that Italian cats are so much better looking than the French variety? Or are you just getting better at snapping them? Love the one peeping over the wall: miao bella 🙂

    • Hi Calum, sorry to hear about your loss. I’ll put you down for a copy of my Cats of the Via Francigena calendar. Something to look forward to in your Christmas stocking. Tim

  5. Hi Tim. I am enjoying following you on your pilgrimage. It is preparing me well (mentally) for my October Camino. Can I be cheeky and ask Paul the make or brand of the sandals he was wearing when I met you on the Dover section? I think closed cap sandals may be better for an October Camino as it may rain more. Good luck to Roma.

    • Hi Torin, the sandals are Keen Rialto H2. Paul suggests getting two sizes bigger than normal and use two thin socks or a double layer sock. No blisters guaranteed. Hope that helps. Tim

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