Our day started as every day so far on this adventure. Breakfast! Pack the bags and dress for the road.
We headed out around 10:15 and with a little tour through town, found our way onto the Via Francigena car route that always leads to the walkers route or the trail. Sometimes they are the same and dirt or gravel surface.
After the first mile we realized that the "Hill Top" town was actually not at the top of the hill! Soon we were looking down at the little town and on our way.
This part of Tuscany has many castles, family owned, they served as fortication as safety from being attacked bu the Sienese.
As we traveled today we saw five different hamlets that had their own small village.
The road has remained rocky and loose. Never flat, we were climbing and descending all morning long. Climbs of over 200' and more with warning of 15% grade going down, assuming that means up as well. There were times when it looked as if we were riding down hill, but we're actually ascending about a foot every 20'. It was slow going so checking the altimeter woul let me know things were okay and in fact we were climbing.
Open, sunny and hot. Shade at times was hard to find.
The trail has you not always going in a straight line to Rome, it will send you up to some town, making the journey intresting with opportunity for food and lodging. After awhile and when we became tired, looking at the map we'll skip a town to keep moving in the direction of Rome.
We have our GPS set for our final destanation and after 2 1/2 hours of being on the trail and only having advanced 2 miles closer, as the crow flies, and in all cases this trip, Mr. Crow lies!
We reached a point around 1:15 that it was time for lunch. We came to a fork in the road that if we went with the car route, it looked like some buildings far off and way below might have a place for lunch.
We headed down the dirt car route. About 2 miles and at the bottom of the hill we found a lovely, local restaurant and bar. It was then 1:25 and getting close to when most restaurants close until dinner. The bar stays open, but if you want more then a slice of pizza or a ham sandwich, in most cases you need to be there before two. There was setting outside and this day being a nice fall Saturday it was filled with hunters. We've seen lots of hunters out in different areas and pheasants to match.
Lunch was great, home made pasta and mushrooms., Barbara had Bruscetta with tomatoes.
We returned to the bike and stayed on the street for the rest of the afternoon. We climbed south 1200' up on an open highway with very little traffic and no shade.
At what seemed to be the top of the hill we came to a tunnel that we could see on the map and pulled over to put our tail lights on.
The inside of the tunnel was lit and sloped down hill. It also was about 15 degrees cooler. A very pleasant break in the hottest part of the day.
The tunnel was just under a half mile long. We were only passed by one car.
At the end of the tunnel it was all down hill for over 2 miles.