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Italy, Day 9, Monteluco to Spoleto

& An It's All Part of the Adventure Moment

Distance: 13 km, plus
Elevation: +900 ft/-2,200ft

Our day began with a delicious breakfast in the lovely breakfast room at the Palazzo Dragoni in Spoleto.
We've discovered that every hotel handles breakfast differently, depending on their interpretation of Covid rules. Some still have the traditional buffet, but there's elaborate protective devices over the food. Other hotels have switched to ordering what you want, as in a restaurant. At the Palazzo Dragoni, each guest is accompanied by an "authorized" staff person, who conveniently speaks not a word of English. The "authorized" staff person ("authorized" according to the full page of instructions that are in our room) takes the guest around the table. The guest points at things that look good and then the authorized person puts in on a plate and then on a tray. Once back at the table, the authorized staff person kindly asks about the guest's coffee choice. "Cappuccino," of course, we respond, and then we wonder: can we ask for a double? We haven't yet asked for a double. But, we have asked for a second.

Today's breakfast, by the way, included homemade ricotta. I may not leave.

Our driver (someone other than George, who had the day off, or at least a day off from us!) came along before we were ready, but she was patient. Once we had packed our things for a big day on the trail, she drove us up, up, up a mountain and dropped us off in Monteluco, a large area of lush forest. "Monteluco" means "a sacred grove dedicated to Jupiter." The mountain's sacred history is long and includes a time when it became home to a colony of Christian religious hermits (primarily Syrian) who used the natural caves and grottoes as places of spiritual retreat and contemplation.

The area continued to be important to various Christians, especially monks of various orders, including Francis of Pavia, Bernardino of Siena, Bonaventure, and Anthony of Padova. The most famous of all religious sites on Monteluco is the Convento di San Francesco di Monteluco, the primitive convent established by Saint Francis in 1218 (one of his first) on the summit of the mountain.
[*Information provided by Country Walkers]

We organized ourselves and then checked out what we could check out at the top.

Then, we began the long, slow descent, along the Via di Roma/Via Francigena di San Francesco. Some trails were flat. Some were gently descending. A few had serious erosion issues. And, in a couple of places we faced loose gravel. So, it was a mixed bag and some of it required care and slowness. But, it was a magnificent day-- sunny and not too hot on the mountain and in the woods.

Around noon, and in a place with a nice view, we stopped for our new favorite lunch, trail pizza! We had almost an entire pizza left over from last night. We broke it up into pieces and kept it in our mini-fridge and then brought it with us on the hike. Yummy.

And, then more descending, this time in a steep area with loose gravel. And, then more easy trails.

Just when we could feel the end, we ran into a bit of a problem-- around the 11km mark. Were we reading the instructions incorrectly? Were the instructions themselves the problem? Was the closed section in front of us the problem? We have no idea, but we ended up walking down a large section of a regular road, with cars, motorcycles, and buses! A little scary. And, unpleasant.

Finally, we made it back to the Market Square near the hotel and treated ourselves to gelato. I had ricotta with figs. Yummy and more yummy.

Back to the hotel for rest and cleaning up. And, then off to the Duomo Square for spritzes and then to dinner at Osteria del Matto near the Market Square, where we enjoyed course after course, as well as a little entertainment and then political conversation (not so entertaining) with the owner and the table next door.

Posted by ReisAdventures 16:13 Archived in Italy

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