We awoke to pouring rain, with a forecast of rain for most of the day. It had been forecast for several days so we couldn’t really complain, and anyway the farmers have been praying for it. We couldn’t see the lake for cloud and rain. Supper had been indifferent but we slept well. The prospect of walking in full wet weather gear in the rain was not enticing, and we were slow getting started.

Hotel Platani in the rain

After a walk back up the road to a supermarket to buy lunchtime sandwiches we finally left the hotel at 0950, heading back up the hill and on southwards. We didn’t feel inspired!

Fairly soon our path took us up the side of the hill and into olive groves. The ‘proprieta privata’ signs persisted for some distance as we made our way out of Bolsena passing flamboyant unoccupied properties with pretentious gateways. Who are the owners of these places which steal the best views of the lake and surrounding countryside, hiding it from users of the Via Franchigena? How often do they come here?

Think wet Welsh hills and olives…….that pretty well sums up most of the morning. The oak woodland was lovely despite the rain. At least there was very little wind. As lunchtime approached we could sense a slight lightening of the sky in the direction of Lake Bolsena. This lifted our spirits.

After crossing a swollen stream, fortunately over a newly built footbridge, we found a shelter under which to rest and munch our tuna sandwiches.

Lunch in the shelter of the lavenderia

At one end of the shelter was what looked like a lavanderia with a constant throughput of water. What was so interesting was the temperature of the water which was emanating from the ground – truly warm enough to bath in! We assumed that this was the consequence of a steep geothermal gradient due to the thinner crust in this recently volcanic environment. Lunch finished we realised that it had stopped raining, and as we emerged from the shelter the sun began to force its way through the clouds. As we reached higher ground the lake came into view, the air now clearer after all that rain.

The afternoon began with walking through farmland on a sunken and badly eroded track with a lot of plastic litter embedded in the soil, bringing us out onto a minor road before walking alongside a busier road for a while.

Just as we were about to cross said busy road and head off on a track we were confronted by an extremely aggressive Alsation dog barking, slathering, and bearing its teeth at eye level in the fenced garden above us. The owner then turned up, retrieved her mail from the postbox and, despite encouragement from us, did absolutely nothing to quieten her dog. We find the attitude to dogs here, and the apparent inability or unwillingness of their owners to control them, very perplexing. When we commanded the dog very authoritatively to shut up, it did!

Very aggressive dog harassing us as we use the footpath

The track climbed steadily upwards towards Montefiascone for several kilometres, eventually giving us a spectacular view of the lake and, on the horizon, the Mediterranean glinting in the late afternoon sun. It was magical and a great reward after the soggy grey morning we’d had.

Lake Bolsena and on the horizon the Mediterranean (to the left of the lake) glinting in the afternoon sun
Approaching Montefiascone perched on the hilltop overlooking Lake Bolsena

Further along the road we came to the 100km point where various organisations had set up a pilgrim self-stamping station. Just 100kms to go to St Peter’s in Rome!

The red arrow on the side points to the knob to open up the locker with pilgrim stamp marking 100km to go to St Peter’s in Rome

On passing a supermarket we decided to buy sandwiches and an orange for tomorrow’s lunch so we can get going a bit earlier than we did today. We found our hotel higher up the hill, close to the old town and on the Via Francigena. We were glad to arrive earlier than we did yesterday, giving us longer to relax, as well as doing laundry and the blog, before going to sleep.

View from our bedroom window late afternoon, a rainbow in the distance

The highlight of the day was the wonderful view over the lake and the Mediterranean on the horizon glinting in the late afternoon sunshine.

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  1. Good to see you’re on the downhill stretch ( figuratively at least), so keep on keeping on and don’t do anything silly like twisting an ankle or something else equally vital.
    See you soon and enjoy your triumph when you get to Rome!