Campagnano di Roma celebrated the feast of its patron saint, John the Baptist long into the night. The bishop led the procession, a dozen men carried a statue of the saint high above their heads and the marching bands followed. The town centre was decorated with decorative street lighting and people thronged the streets tempted by sizzling street food. Older ladies sat in plastic chairs chatting to their neighbours, younger ladies were dressed up in enticing clothes in anticipation and men were doing whatever men do. And of course children were running wild.
In the square a stage was erected for bands who would play the night away. Long after I was asleep a mass of fireworks lit up the sky and the celebrations continued into the small hours.
We walked to La Storta today, a mere 24km. La Storta is the final stop on the Via Francigena before Rome and for weeks I’ve foolishly imagined a charming village with a staging post and lots of pilgrims milling around. Of course that vision is far from the reality of this grim outer suburb of Rome. We booked a hotel just beyond the centre and edged our way down the busy road to reach it.
D, who has walked from Canterbury but who we only met last night, is also staying here. It was nice to share some dinner with him and hear more about his pilgrimage. We have only been a day or two apart and I will arrange to meet him in Rome over the next few days.
Tomorrow we will continue down that road to The Vatican. It’s only about 17km from here so all being well we’ll be there mid morning.
Cheese stall in last night’s celebration
No one really knows the distance to Canterbury
Welcome to La Storta