Today we walked – all the way

Fresco at Santa Maria Assunta church at Valfabbrica.

Day 15: Biscina to Valfabbrica — 15.8 km (9.8 miles)

OK, I admit. With a van available to us we may have escaped a few raindrops here and there through the use of motor vehicles. But today we walked all the way. It felt good, plus the scenery was beautiful. After our arrival, we headed to a monastery church to survey its 13th century frescoes.

Group selfie with Castello Biscina as background. 

The scenery. 

Alma and Halldora. 

Pilgrims cross a bridge.  

Castello Biscina from a distance. 

Halldora inspects a field of sunflowers. 

Benedictine chapel. 

Valfabbrica fresco. 

More frescoes. 

Walking, raining, vanning, exploring

St. Francis and the Wolf of Gubbio are backdrop for the day’s group selfie  

Day 14: Gubbio to Biscina — 8km (5 miles)

From the start of the day black clouds hovered over us, so after visiting the Wolf Church in Gubbio and walking into the Chiascio Valley we were happy to find ourselves ensconced in the dining room of an agriturismo as a thunderstorm raged around us. After a pasta/panino lunch we took the van to a remote church where we inspected its fresco. Afterward we explored ruins of a castle and finished the evening with a concert by Luke and dinner at our overnight location. We’re all hoping for better weather tomorrow, our penultimate day.

Our wonderful Gubbio friends hosted us for a celebration of tozzetti and vin santo. 

Fonte at Ponte di Ricchio 

Frescoes at Eremo San Pietro in Vigneto. 

Pilgrims leave memories at Madonna delle Grazie. 

Entry gate at Castello Biscina. 

Biscina castle tower can be seen for many miles. 

Story of the castle. 

Magical mystery trek under puffy clouds*

Day 12: Pietralunga to Gubbio — 16 km (9.9 miles)

After starting just outside Pietralunga we walked to Loreto Basso and caught the Sherpa Van to Gubbio from there. Cloudy, threatening skies with T-storms in the forecast actually remained puffy grey and dry through the day. Glorious scenery and fun, relaxed walking led to a great day. After arriving Gubbio we stopped at the Roman amphitheater and later took the Funivia funicular to Basilica San Ubaldo.

*Credit to our group for today’s blogpost title.

Back on the road and loving Umbria’s rolling hills

Day 11: Città di Castello to Pietralunga — 13.6 km (8.5 miles)

Tuesday night was spent with one of our group at the hospital. Though she was released yesterday morning, it’s clear that getting back to 100% will take an extended time. We said goodbye to her and her roommate this morning as we headed on to Pietralunga while they made plans to either take a few days off the trail or return immediately to the US. Meantime we all agreed that Hotel Tiferno in Città di Castello is a remarkable place to which we’d all like to return.

After our sad farewell we walked the quiet and green portion of the trail between Bar il Sasso and Pieve di Saddi, a 4th century church partway to Pietralunga. Tomorrow we head to charming Gubbio.

Starting under grey skies.

Clouds break up for long distance views.

Looking back toward Città di Castello.

Ever marching onward.

Cheery, rolling hills. 

Sue, Kim and Gary. 

Green. 

Pieve di Saddi, now a pilgrim hostel. Still a 4th century church. 

Pics from our last few days in Tuscany

We all took a day off today in Sansepolcro while a few of us recovered from various maladies. Here are pics from our last 24 hours.

Gathering before yesterday’s walk. 

We meet Katherine, a Facebook friend, on the trail. 

Lonely cows on the hillside. Or maybe cows on the lonely hillside. 

Kim and Sue pose with treats. (Pic by Gary)

cow poses with Beth for a selfie.

Selfies with a mannequin at the Museo Civico. 

Luke is man of the hour as he rescues our group from a rainstorm. (Photo by Kim)

We pose at Montecasale. 

Halldora and Alma at Anghiari (photo by Donna)

Revision: CAI 22 trail removes dangerous path after Pieve Santo Stefano

As promised, here is additional information about revisions to the path after Pieve Santo Stefano (Stage 8, p. 95).

Keep the first line of the paragraph that reads, “The road turns to gravel then comes alongside the wall of the Auto Strada Statale 3bis.” Replace the rest of the paragraph with this:

Turn right at the first archway under the highway and follow the driveway left, past the house and through the metal gate (please close it behind you). Keep on this road, veering left at the next two Y intersections while going uphill at a moderate rate. Stay on the road as it leads through a logged area and then goes steeply uphill. About 500m later the road becomes a one track path and reaches a summit with views to the reservoir beyond. About 200m later the path joins a road from the right which you follow as it leads steeply downhill. Watch your footing carefully as the road plunges down on sandstone bedrock and small, loose gravel.

CAI 22 markers show the way. 

Turn right here.

I strongly advise against walking on the original route behind the Euro Hotel. The path has eroded off the hillside and is precarious for all walkers.

What the old path looks like now. 

Rainy days and Sundays, always going down

Contrasts — blackened trees from a previous forest fire grow in the rainy mist.

Day Seven: Santuario Della Verna to Pieve Santo Stefano — 15km (9.3 miles)

We woke up this morning to a “gully washer,” which in Northwest parlance means a torrential downpour of rain. I couldn’t imagine walking down the steep hill — or even being outside for more than a few minutes– but by 9:00 the rain had settled into a steady drizzle. Several of our group opted to take the van downhill, while the rest (ok, Gary and me) braved the elements and walked the 600m (1800 ft) descent. Those who were driven downhill had the added treat of touring the nearby birthplace of Michelangelo. After the descent I scouted out a track revision for tomorrow and posted the update on my blog and in our Facebook group. Tomorrow’s weather looks to be sunny and mild.

Gary poses by the La Verna statue of the Saint and the dove seller. 

Today the paths did double duty as creeks. 

Misty, autumnal pathways in the high forests. 

Views opened up as we dipped below cloud level. 

Soon we saw Pieve Santo Stefano below. 

Views toward Caprese Michelangelo and La Rocca. 

Pieve Santo Stefano decked out for a festival. 

Gary and I pose for a selfie as we arrive — safe, sound and soaked — at our hotel.