Monday, 10 September 2007

Day 61 - Vico Matrino - La Storta - 58km

BB
Today we follow the regular VF signed route all the way to Sutri (where we take time out to visit the Etruscan amphitheatre and pagan chapel, which we could not do with Lubie last year), but from here we strike off onto our own route in an attempt to stay away from the via Cassia entirely. Our memories of one particular dual carriageway section between here and Rome haunt us still, so we have decided we cannot recommend the same to other people who may follow us.
Our new route (which misses none of the important VF towns) takes us over the Sabatini mountain range and down to the Bracciano lake, which we find to be a highlight in itself. Overall the road is relatively quiet and the climb bearable, so we are very pleased with this first section. From here the traffic increases and makes the route less inviting for walkers and riders, but fortunately we are able to find a road that links back to an off-road section identified by the AIVF map (we used it ourselves last year), which does involve some climbing and extra distance, but leads pilgrims straight into La Storta, an ideal stopping off place (for those who want it) before the final 15km into Rome.

As a result of our new route we make up time and distance and arrive in La Storta a day earlier than anticipated, which is a pleasant surprise. We stay in the same hotel as last year, eat in the same restaurant and generally seem to repeat history, though notably without nearly as much stress - perhaps the result of simply being more experienced or possibly the knowledge that this year our horses are safe at home.
PP The hotel is the Albergo Il Tempio Di Apollo in neighbouring commune of Isola Farnese. It is not cheap at 75 euros for a double room, but the prices in the heart of Rome are generally higher. The public transport system in Rome is superb and very cheap - 1 euro from Isola Farnese to the heart of Rome using bus, train and metro.
Not surprisingly as you approach Rome the traffic becomes more dense and the diversions needed to avoid it become more extreme. I think we will be able to offer options for those that want to put the miles behind them as quickly as possible and also something for those that sensibly want to minimise contact with the traffic.

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