Tall climb and renewed friendship

Feliciano, center, with Luke and me.

Day seven: Piediluco to Poggio Bustone — 24km (14.9 miles)

Today’s big climb of about 600 meters presented an obstacle that our group handily overcame. We arrived in Poggio Bustone and settled into the new apartments of my friend, Feliciano. His Locanda Francescana is by far the best pilgrim overnight option in this quaint and pretty hill town, and I’m so proud of Feliciano’s efforts to prepare his new rooms to coincide with our arrival here

Seven of our eleven pilgrims opted to walk the whole distance. Left to right: Lisa, Mary, Mike, Mary Ann, Denise, Fiona, Millie. 

Views to the Sacred Valley. 

Photo op at the wooden cross above the St Francis Beech Tree. 

Walking down from the heights. 

Results of recent forest fires near Poggio Bustone. 

Our nervous group encounters a nervous cow. 

On GPS this is what my day looks like. The red line is our intended track as we arrive in Poggio Bustone. Blue is my actual recorded track at our arrival. Our intended distance for the day was 21 km. Actual distance today was 31+. 

Waterfall river lake walk

Mist rises from the falls just after the flood gates are opened.

Day Six: Arrone to Piediluco– 18km (11.2 miles)

The Marmore Waterfall always refreshes me, and today was no different. Our pilgrims started from the bottom, walked up, and then feasted at a friendly and efficient restaurant at the top. Afterward we walked along the river and then the lake before settling into our lakeside hotel near a spot where St Francis preached.

Lovers’ Tunnel is very wet. 

Luke and I pose for the camera. 

View back toward Arrone. 

Walk along the dike. 

Panorama at the lakefront. 

Everything seems better in clean clothes

Derelict church in upper Macenano  

Day five: Ceselli to Arrone — 17 km (10.6 miles)

We walked from our lovely hotel today through Macenano and then out the Nera Valley to Ferentillo and Arrone. Who would ever guess that Arrone’s central piazza would include an ultramodern laundromat? The couple of hours spent cleaning clothes will make life much more pleasant, I’m sure.

Group pic at the start of the day in front of Abbazia San Pietro, our hotel. 

Quiet times for the local Communist Party. 

The Nera Valley. 

Who would guess that this little Italian hill town would have….

…a state of the art laundromat right in the main piazza?

Mountain paths, amazing views

Bas-relief sculptures from 10th century on the facade of Spoleto’s Chiesa San Pietro  

Day four: Spoleto to Ceselli — 17km (10.6 miles)

With the Ponte delle Torri closed in Spoleto we walked around via San Pietro, then climbed the giant hill. From there it was over the hump to Valnerina and our overnight at gorgeous Abbazia San Pietro in Valle.

We gave hikers the option of walking today’s mighty hill or taking the van. Five of eleven walked with me. Here we gather for a photo. 

The currently closed bridge. 

Hiking up toward the summit after Monteluco sanctuary. 

Eating at the lunch pasture. 

Photo op above the gorge. 

The gorge. 

“Look how high up we are!”

From below, that is where we were. Way up there above the cliffs  

Our stop Forbes the night — Abbazia San Pietro in Valle. 

Perfect day walking to and through the perfect Italian town

An original letter of St Francis kept at the Duomo di Spoleto.

Day three: Trevi to Spoleto — 24 km (14.9 miles)

The beautiful weather was the star of the day, not counting the constant bellaviste toward the valley. Four of us walked the whole way, then rewarded ourselves with prize winning gelato as we arrived in Spoleto.

Last glimpses of Trevi.

Clitunno springs is always a treasure.

Pilgrims cross a bridge.

Mike and Mary eat championship gelato.

View from Piazza Mercato

Luke and I goof off at il Duomo under the amazing frescoes. 

Duomo at sunset.

Dinner with the gang.

Climbing through olive orchards to scenic Trevi

This afternoon I walked mostly with Millie, Fiona, Mary and Mike.

Day two: Spello to Trevi: 20.3 km (12.8 miles)

The weather could not be better — clear skies with cool temps. A coffee stop in Foligno was our first stop, followed by a long, gradual climb, followed by a short steep climb to Trevi. Our group arrived between 2:30 and 4:30 in good spirits.

Our group at the start of the day. 

This morning I walked mostly with Grady. 

Believe it or not sometimes I get requests from other pilgrims for photos with me, as guidebook author. This is Angelica from Trieste, Germany. 

Another fan — Manileo. 

Not a fan. Not sure if this honky goose was upset we disturbed her, was asking for a handout, or was asking the date and time of Christmas dinner. 

No photo can capture the full beauty of  Trevi’s majestic setting. 

Leading a fun and happy new group to Rome

Pilgrims, from left: Grady, Danielle, Fiona, Lynn, Mary, Mary Ann, Lisa, Denise, Millie, Mary, Mike.

Day one: Assisi to Spello — 13km (8.3 miles)

As we began our day, our group took a quick stroll through the historic Basilica di San Francesco. We headed to Basilica Santa Chiara and then left town, traversing Monte Subasio, to lovely Spello.

Two weeks ago our prior group met Elizabeth, an Austrian pilgrim. Today we saw her here in Assisi, finishing her walk.

Mike and Mary leaving Basilica Santa Chiara.

Example of our trail.

Another example.

This little fellow accompanied us for about five kilometers.

Group climb.

And behold, Spello