Rain, thunder, bells and singing

Local artisans of Acquapendente assemble their flower mosaics under cover from the rain.

Day 16: Acquapendente to Bolsena — 20km (12.5 miles)

I planned a late departure from Acquapendente today so I could swing by the Santa Maria delle Fiore festival in the center city. My B&B hostess, Roberta, had put together a beautiful breakfast spread. I filled up with yogurt, fruit, juice and coffee then headed out the door — into a steady rain.

The flower parade would be delayed due to rain, so I headed out of town, following two Italian women pilgrims who were singing loudly as they walked in the rain. I passed them, spoke briefly, then enjoyed their music over the next kilometer or so as their songs faded into the distance.

Soon I saw Roberto and Stefano ahead and chatted some as the hills began to stretch out into wide plains, falling off toward what the maps promised would be the enormous volcanic crater-lake of Bolsena. Roberto and Stefano were ahead of me by a few minutes into the town of San Lorenzo Nuovo, where we caught the first views of the enormous lake to the sounds of Sunday morning bells calling worshippers to church.

Church at the center of San Lorenzo Nuovo.

First glimpses of Lago Bolsena.

After the lake appeared, it was downhill on the highway until a left turn put the track onto a 10km long dirt road that undulated among the hills and valleys above the highway and in view of the lovely lake. Partway through the walk, the rain started up again, this time with loud thunder, which continued all the way to the medieval fortress at the start of Bolsena.

A moment without rain, but just a moment.

Bolsena’s castle appears above the lake.

Here I saw Marta, Vitas and Mike, who insisted we pose for a photo, which I was happy to do. Pizza for lunch, then the short day’s walk allowed time to explore the town while dodging raindrops.

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