Well today was a toughie, but another great one. Every day of this walk so far has been different in character. Today was more of a rugged underfoot kind of day that made me so glad I had packed two walking poles! It retraced the route over which horsemen carried St Francis back to Assisi when he became ill with his final illness.
I left from my Nocera Umbra hotel, and the start of the day involved a steepish climb on the road up to the village of Africa. But then all that altitude gain was lost on a big descent down to valley level, where a viaduct let me pass under the railway line. A small river also ran through here, and it was the site of numerous factories, quite well hidden from the casual gaze.
It wasn't too long before the flat walking gave way to more altitude gaining, on the quiet road up to the village of Villa di Postignano. One very helpful thing about today's walk was that it largely coincided with route #51, the Sentiero Franciscano, so it was quite well signed with red and white blazes. These plus my notes and maps gave me extra certainty about my route. I enjoyed seeing the route signed for Assisi.
But then things got a bit tougher on the climb up to Rocca di Postignano, the remnants of an old tower. I was expecting this, as I knew there was quite a lot of altitude to be gained but it made me work hard in places!
Silly me, I am not so good at map reading, and I was under the illusion that by the time I reached the Rocca, the majority of the climbing was behind me. Not so! The next bit of path was definitely in the mountain goat category, and I was really glad it wasn't raining, and that I had two walking poles!
But all climbs come to an end, and next there was quite a decent descent, some of it on easy paths, and some of it quite rugged and stony. I had lunch near a turn-off for Satriano, where the party bringing St Francis back to Assisi had a break.
A feature of walking at present is that there are many wildflowers in bloom, and I imagine in another two weeks it will be a simply wondrous show.
All the descending was aiming for one point- the restored medieval bridge, Ponte Marchetto. It was a long way down to the river! First I passed an old stone bridge that is closed.
Then it was on to the wooden topped restored bridge. The water rushing below was quite spectacular, as it has worn the banks down steeply, but it was so narrow and deep it was hard to get a shot.
Now I could quite happily have stayed beside this bridge camping for the night! But what goes down must come back up, and I had to get going and make my muscles do the last 150m or so of altitude gaining. It was only an hour or so to Costa Di Trex, and my agriturismo stop for the night! (And after a few more kilometres in the morning, I will pass back through Assisi again...)