Sun, Sights and Slips

Monday, September 12, 2022

Ancient Road
La Verna’s Exterior

La Verna to Pieve Santo Stefano

Elevation Gain: 719,

Elevation Loss: 3013,

16.6 kilometers, 10.3 miles

Today’s walk was billed on our “Ride With GPS” app, as a “moderate walk with views of the Upper Tiber Valley mostly descent, initially taking a path that coasts the beech tree woods that surrounds La Verna then climbing up to Mt Calvano meadows and descending on the paths that cross the oak tree woods towards the village along the Tiber valley of Pieve Santo Stefano.”

This morning we had a light breakfast (packages of biscuits, dry toast and jams – good thing I saved my apple from last night’s dinner!) We then enjoyed an additional tour around the premises. It was a glorious morning with astounding views of tree tops, our guest appearance mayor’s village of Chiusi della Verna and surrounding mountains!

We descended into the grotto and then cave where St Francis is said to have slept, wept and prayed. We saw a display of a worn tunic he clothed himself in while last here. And we went down (and back up!) 87 sharply pitched steps to a peaceful space under an enormous rock jutting out from the other huge rocks.

This is mostly accurate yet we did ascend for four miles before the steady downward track was our new pleasant reality. The views of surrounding countryside of verdant trees and distant mountains was pleasing in every way! We walked through a meadow and I felt like I was on top of the world experiencing the panoramic view. We lunched again amongst the trees in a clearing of dappled sun.

You know it’s steep if they have a sign for it!

I did however slide and fall on the slippery shale and scraped my left knee and hand up a bit in the last mile.

Most others in my group went on to Cerbaiolo Hermitage which involved more walking on gravel. I stayed in and nursed my wounds and ego – both survived and will be ready for tomorrow’s go round! We had yummy ravioli and meat sauce, a minimal salad (I am really missing vegetables) and even an astounding little lava cake! Ciao!

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