May 17, 2013 — Trevi to Spoleto
“What do you do when it rains?” asked the skeptical American tourist, seated across from us at breakfast this morning at our hotel in Trevi. “We have rain gear!” we replied cheerfully. As we left the hotel an hour later, the same American waved to us from the dry comfort of his rental car as he passed by with his wipers busily clearing rain from his windshield.
The weather reports had predicted rain for today, and they nailed it. It came on and off for the first hour of our walk — once again through olive groves — then it came with a windy fury after a couple of hours. Within seconds of the worst deluge we were discovering the limits of our rain gear. I had started the day with just my rain jacket, but during the hardest downpour we found a garage and ducked in so I could put on my long pants (to keep rain out of my boots), my long sleeved T-shirt, and my down sweater for beneath my dripping rain jacket.
The torrent continued as the trail led us down to the valley floor, and after a left turn onto the highway we found a bar where we took off our wet gear and warmed ourselves with coffee and hot croissants. Soon we were joined by our four French friends we’d met in Assisi, and also a quiet Italian couple we’d seen several times along the way. All of us took refuge on the covered patio as we waited for the rain to subside.
After about an hour the rain slackened and we all headed out, just a little drier than before. We walked along the highway, then turned right onto a quiet, paved track alongside an irrigation ditch. Here we met one of the most interesting characters from any of my caminos, Daniele Marini of Italy, and his dog Atan.
Daniele is a tiny 25-year old with a quick and warm smile who’s off on a 10-12 year walk around the world. He’s already walked from his home to Rome, Barcelona, Santiago and other places. He’s now heading to Rome, then is off to Sardinia, France, Germany, then Asia and Africa, followed by North and South America. He subsists solely on the generous offerings of strangers and the occasional odd job as a bartender or laborer. Today he is heading to Spoleto because Terrence Hill is there filming a TV show.
When he told me this, my first question was, “Who in the world is Terence Hill?” Daniele and Sebastian were shocked that I didn’t know this famous European movie star. I quickly consulted Wikipedia and discovered that I have not seen a single movie in the Terence Hill filmography, not even Miami Supercops or I Quatro del Ave Maria or Nobody Hits like Don Camillo with his sidekick Bud Spencer. Apparently I know nothing about movies. 😉 When I return to the US I’ll begin a raid of the Netflix archives to find out what all the fuss is about.
Engrossed in conversation with Daniele and seeing no waymarks for awhile we started to get nervous about directions to Spoleto. Since the rain had stopped and the town was clearly visible on the hillside ahead we shifted to the highway which went in that direction and in an hour or two were having lunch (our treat) with Daniele and Atan at a nice outdoor lunch spot in Spoleto.
We walked up to the Duomo at the top of town, where Daniele had heard Terence Hill would be filming. As we arrived we passed films crews staked out all over the Duomo Piazza and Daniele pointed out a blue movie star’s chair emblazoned with the name, “Terence Hill.” Since our goal was the Duomo, not the movie star, we said a fond farewell to Daniele and headed into the beautiful church.
Just as Jacqueline and I were finishing our tour of the cathedral, Sebastian rushed through the front door and said, “We have to leave now! The film crews are clearing the Piazza!” Sure enough, we were instructed to leave right away, and as we walked off the piazza we noticed an older man in a black priest’s cassock wearing a black baseball cap. “That’s him!” said Sebastian. “That’s Terence Hill!” I took a quick photo of the back of his head as stage hands instructed me in Italian, “No fotos!” and as we turned the corner off the piazza I noticed Daniele and his dog, discretely situated across the piazza, out of view of the cameras.
Finished with our brush with fame we headed to a hotel we’d passed along the way and were shown to a nice room with three beds, our home for the night. Jacqueline and Sebastian, full of energy, headed out for sightseeing while I snoozed for a couple of hours under the warm covers of my bed.
Sebastian awakened me at 7:30 for dinner and we made our way down to the hotel dining room. After ordering, we noticed the hotel owner seating a wiry young Italian man — Daniele! He joined us at our table and told us about how a nice woman in the Duomo Piazza had inquired about his dog and he’d told her he had no place to sleep for the night. “Come and stay in my hotel,” she said. So now we know how Daniele will make his way around the world — on the kindness of strangers, his friendly smile, and people’s love of dogs.
We voted Jacqueline to be first in the shower, but she immediately noticed there was no water coming from the tap. Checking with the desk, we learned that all human and canine guests will have to wait until the morning for the hotel’s main water line to be fixed. So while this entertaining day included the occasional mendicant hiker and Italian movie star, tonight there would be no showers or washing of clothes for our little pilgrim fellowship.