Distance: 42.1 km
Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
Average speed: 20.2 kph
Cumulative distance: 1973.53 km
Cumulative time: 98 hours 29 minutes
Word of the day: ‘vicino’ (vee-chee-no) – close!
We walked into town last night and had a good meal on an outside terrace almost overlooking one of the several valleys between Civita Castellana and its surroundings. It was a hot night, and the hotel’s air conditioning rather ineffectual, but despite that we managed to sleep in ’til 9:30!
We knew there was little point setting off early today, as our destination B&B just outside the Rome ring-road couldn’t check us in until 4pm, so we had a leisurely breakfast, and then lounged around doing some route planning, domestic admin and so on until midday.
When we did set off, it was very much downhill! For the last few days the exits from our selected hilltop towns have often been just too steep, or too cobbled, or both, for us to ride safely and enjoy. Today, though, it was fine, a good downhill ramp taking us to the valley floor, from which we climbed gently up and over the ridge into the next one.
For a few days now we’ve been seeing road-signs for Rome, which has been exciting. Of course, all roads lead to Rome. Which is handy at this point in our journey!
A long journey like this is full of milestones large and small, in the achievement sense, if not the numeric sense, since they are naturally in kilometres here. Rome feels like one of the larger ones, like reaching Chioggia and the Adriatic Sea, or crossing the Appenines, or reaching Pisa and turning east again. We’re not there yet, but we are oh so close now.
The route planning for today had been a choice. Should we take the more direct but potentially busier SS3? Or head further across into the Tiber Valley on quieter roads and cut back? We opted for the SS3, and it worked out well – a little busy, but not bad, a good surface, and some interesting views of Monte Soratte. We seemed to be following the railway line into Rome all day today, so unfortunately all our views of the mountain included the railway infrastructure.
We also discovered later that we had been following the Via Flaminia, one of Rome’s ancient routes:
You can see Monte Soratte on the ancient map, as Mt. Soracte.
We stopped for lunch at pretty much the summit of the climb, in Morlupo, where we found a bar with some delicious offerings, and enjoyed sitting for a while rehydrating and eating our chosen items.
The rest of the day was a long, long descent into the outskirts of Rome, a place called Labaro. We had good views down into the valley, in fact at one point a very generous bus driver behind us waited until the Stoker had finished filming before overtaking us, otherwise he might have completely obscured the view!
On arrival at our B&B, disaster. No washing machine, despite it having been erroneously listed in a popular hotel booking website as having one. Would we have to hand-wash? Oh the horror. The owners generously offered to take us to the lavanderia to have our stuff washed, though, and that worked out well, as they took us on to the supermarket whilst it was being done, and we collected it on the way back. Phew.
Labaro is what you would probably expect of a suburban town outside the capital’s ring-road, but our B&B is perfectly nice – a little garden, where our professionally washed kit is now drying in the sunshine, somewhere to eat outside, and a beautiful lime tree for which the house is named. Our host’s daughter leaves tomorrow for the U.K. to spend two weeks at a language school, we wish her the very best of luck.
And so, tomorrow – Rome, where we’ll meet up with Joshua and spend a few days together. We’re heading in on the Tevere cycle path, a new-ish route, entirely traffic-free, and the only way we’d consider cycling in Rome. It looks great. Fingers crossed!
Here’s today’s track.