Friday, September 16, 2022
Città di Castello to Pietralunga
Projected stage: 29.8 km, 18.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,636
Elevation Loss: 1,736
The day dawned with a heavy mist as well as a forecast for more thunderstorms. Yesterday‘s torrential downpour caused severe damage in some places and resulted in mudslides and floods. Nine people lost their lives in a nearby town. So we approached this day with some trepidation and preparedness.
We had breakfast at 7:30 and departed by van at around 9:00. Ultimately our newly devised route given the road conditions and also the amount of pavement in today’s stage shaved ten kilometers off of our route by the time we were dropped to start walking. We still walked ten miles, but it was a far cry from the eighteen most of us were prepared to cover today!
From the Tiber Valley we had a steady climb over a pass toward the Chiascio Alto, the headwaters of the river that waters Assisi. The temperatures and humidity have been high daily since we got going out of Florence. Today the temperatures were in the mid 70’s With a very comfortable humidity, the sun was behind the clouds often, and we were in the shade along our wooded walk, caressed much of the time by gentle breezes. Such a pleasure! We trudged continuously up and up and up, yet for the most part the roads were winding and gradual.
Our refreshing morning break was at Pieve di Saddi and we saw beautiful frescoes in the 4th century church there. Coffee and snacks were enjoyed before we set out again on our upward track.
We did have a bit of a descent as we neared our destination yet concluded with a killer uphill stint and an even more dramatic climb into the historic Old Town center of Pietralunga via several sets of stairs and very narrow, winding, steep village streets. Dark clouds followed us yet we manage to escape rainfall. We did have some heavy winds!
Pietralunga has a very medieval vibe, especially in the old town where we stayed. From Sandy Brown’s guidebook, “Enjoy the charming old town of Pietralunga on your way to the historic church of Santa Maria and citadel tower on the main piazza. Crowded into the narrow streets are the 18th-century former hospital, 15th-century Captain’s Palace and 12th-century convent. The town was establish by the Umbrians and inhabited continuously, except for the sixth to seventh centuries after the Goths overwhelmed and destroyed it. By the eighth century it was rebuilt and became part of the Lombard reign, later to be aligned with Città di Castello, the Papal States and finally the Kingdom of Italy. More than 100 soldiers from Pietrolunga perished in World War I, and in World War II Pietralunga was a center of the Anti-Fascist resistance movement.”
There were rumors of pizza, but yet we ended up still having a dinner of cured meats and bread items, pasta carbonara (which was really good yet too much and too late at 9:00), and more meat!
Tomorrow more storms are in the forecast and we are talking about driving all the way to the next town which is a very favorite of Italians and much to see! But where are all the cows???