Walking With Royalty

Wednesday, September 14, 2022, Sansepolcro to Citerna

Elevation Gain: 790

Elevation Loss: 546

14.3 kilometers, 8.9 miles

Today was enjoyable on many levels – some beautiful scenery with a calm in the air under overcast skies, mostly flat walk through farms – probably it was just the groove of putting one foot in front of the other and not being out of breath all of the time that contributed to this day’s pleasing paces!

As we walked out of the historical downtown center Giovanni pointed out the crossbow practice area! There is an annual competition, and one time the town of Sansepolcro actually won! The target with the archer’s winning mark was actually displayed upon the wall at the restaurant where we dined for last night’s dinner and this morning’s breakfast. 

We continued with some highway walking, going under the freeway and then another highway stretch before briefly walking in the woods along the Tiber river. We also walked through industrial areas including by the huge Buitoni Pasta company.

It has come to feel like walking with Royalty as Sandy’s book has become much more well-known. He is a popular figure! People in the little towns we walk through stop to talk to him and today we had just such an experience that resulted in a wonderful opportunity in the town of Gricignano. We were allowed into two different buildings to view their massive diorama type creations of first – the hillside on the day Jesus Christ was crucified, and then on to The Nativity Scene across the street. These sites are so loaded with detail – playing children, grazing sheep, shepherds, folks getting water, flora and fauna and the Crucifixion scene even had some moving parts with accompanying audio. Both dramatic interpretations defy description! What an honor and pleasure to have an opportunity to be invited in to see them!

Our trek ended with a short climb up to the walled, hilltop town of Citerna with sweeping views of the Tiber valley and mountains beyond.

“The city walls of the hilltop town of Citerna, built in the 13th and 14th centuries, denote its prior existence as a fortress, guarding from its heights the strategic upper Tiber Valley. Perched at the top is a citadel area that still has a system of defensive walkways and underground cisterns for rain water. The monastery of Saint Elizabeth, at the far end of town, features a 14th century German pieta, but in the church of San Francesco and the church of Archangel Michael 15th century terra cottas of the Madonna and Child by Donatello and Robbia were recently discovered.”

We said “goodbye” to Tuscany and entered Umbria, once again being received by the mayor and other towns folk as well as special tours into the cathedral and other important city buildings. Sandy was allowed to play the massive pipe organ and did so masterfully!!

Our group split up for lodging, so unfortunately we didn’t have a big social gathering at the awesome swimming pool with astounding views of the valley where I and three others were staying. The rest of the group had the restaurant where we had dinner and or breakfast will be served and where proprietor another Mouro!) played groovy music from the 1960’s!

“Citerna was known in Roman times as Civitas Sobariae. Already existed in Roman times, Citerna was inhabited by the Etruscans: its location it denotes the characteristic of a small fortress with functions of sighting of military flows coming from the surrounding lands, Romagna, Marche and Tuscany, of which the High Tiber Valley constitutes the natural confluence. The small village represents a real terrace overlooking the valley: the western rampart and the round tower, which became the symbol of the country to complete the western side of the walls. The origin of the name seems to come from the cistern, in reality confused in transcription of notarial deeds ancient from Citerea, monte sacred to Venus, pagan goddess of love and beauty. For this the coat of arms of the town will become a well or “tank”, but surmounted by the Morning Star, watch case just “Venus”. Suffered repeated plundering during the barbarian invasions. In the Middle Ages it belonged to the Malatesta to be subsequently incorporated in the state of the Church (15th century). At the beginning of the XVI century the Pope granted to the vicariate Citerna calves that will govern until the end of the Seventeenth Century.

The 23-26 July 1849 gave refuge to Garibaldi and his column of approximately 2,000 volunteers left by about 4,000 emerged from Rome at the end of the siege and marching toward the Adriatic.

In the course of the second world war, suffered serious and irreparable damage to the work of the German army: the already famous rocca was almost completely razed to the ground.” (e-borghi.com)

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