From my last seat just outside Assisi, I headed down hill to cross a historic bridge, then to start climbing again. It mostly wasn't too steep at all, and was mostly on quiet tarmac roads. (My feet were complaining a bit by the end of today, so I will have to protect them well for tomorrow in case there is more tarmac.
There was a statue of Padre Pio right where I needed to start heading uphill, with lots of official Sentiero Fransecano della Pace signs to show me the way all day...
This whole route to Gubbio retraces the steps of a young Francis, estranged from his father, and working out how he wanted to live his life as a Christian, by helping the excluded lepers etc.
There was more roadside evidence of how seismically active this area is.
The day was quite warm, and there wasn't much shade for the climb, so I made sure I was slapping on sunscreen. (Sorry guys at home, I know you will hate me for this...) And by now I had worked out that 2x750ml water bottles wasn't quite enough in this rural area once it warms up, but I never quite got around to carrying more.
At one stage I passed a huge group of Italian walkers coming the other way, bound for Assisi: the route is clearly marked in both directions.
The climb couldn't stay easy, and there was a steep little grunt to finish off. But I made it, and before too long, there was another descent. This was time spent mainly in the forest, and followed a small stream for quite a while. Nearing the end of the track I was really surprised to come across a group of English speakers who said they were on retreat in a place up in the hills above.
Not long before I rejoined the road for the last few minutes into the hamlet where I was spending the night, Pioppo, I saw the light on this plant.
St Francis and I have something in common then- a love for noticing nature.