Friday, July 12, 2019

Day 58 - Viterbo to Vetralla

Today was the last short stage until we make our final entry into Rome. Since we could not arrange early access to our evening lodging, we again made a later departure.

On the way out of Viterbo, we walked by the Palace of the Popes, a small fortress/palace complex for the pontiffs. We then passed through the city walls and were away.

Viterbo City Gate

The most fascinating sight of the day appeared on the outskirts of town. Soon after passing the McDonalds, we made our way into a narrow corridor carved out of the tufa hillside. This was the Cave di Sant’Antonio, a long passageway created by the Etruscans.

Etruscan Cave

The tufa walls closed in around us as we hiked along. A modern asphalt road has been laid at the base of the Cave, but it is only wide enough in places for a single car. The height of the walls varies, but I would guess that on average they stood about ten to twenty feet high on both sides of the road.

This raises an obvious question: why did the Etruscans invest so much time and energy creating this long stone passage? Unfortunately, although theories abound, no one really knows. Rather than simply walking over the hill, the Etruscans chose to carve a passage through it.

It was a fascinating place.

Etruscan Cave

The rest of the day was fine. We walked on a road that paralleled the highway for a couple of kilometers, we hiked through olive groves, and, at one point, we walked on a very long straight road.

Mary of the Olive Groves

Trying to find any distraction, I began to compose a description of this road in the style of Ernest Hemingway:

The road was long and straight. It was flanked by a long hedge that ran straight beside it. A line was formed where the hedge touched the road. The line was long. The line was straight.

Well, I could have gone on in this vein for a very long time, but after a while we turned off the road, worked our way through some olive groves, and reached our destination for the evening: Veltralla.  

Today's Distance: 17.5 KM

Total Distance: 1106.3 KM

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