Saturday 29 November.
It was very noisy outside, there was a constant hum from some roadworks or something going on. It continued all night but it didn't really disturb our sleep. Breakfast this morning wasn't until 7:30 am and it was hardly worth waiting for. I asked for cafe Americano but still got a small cup half full of strong ghastly rubbish. Moira managed to get some milk to put in it and that helped. The other thing about the coffee is that it is always just warm. I like it hot.
We got started at 7:45 am and followed the route out of town that we checked out yesterday afternoon. The road was a bit busy but once clear of the town we forked onto a minor road and it was a lot more comfortable. The weather was overcast but it was dry and cool, nice for walking. Cicerone said that the waymarking wasn't very good but we found it all right. The guide book must have taken a different route as its route didn't resemble where we were again. There was a long climb getting out of Campagnano then we dropped again into a valley where it was flat for some time. The route was on minor tarred roads and wide gravel tracks, all dry and firm. My shoes were still damp from yesterday but with dry socks on they were fine and comfortable.
The first place after 5 km we were to come to was Santuario della Madonna del Sorbonne but we didn't see it. It was built when a man who tended the pigs had a mutilated arm was healed when he had a vision of the Virgin Mary. We reached Formello at 7.5 km in the expected time but we were still looking for the Santuario. I decided to carry Moira's mini iPad after that and check the route on it as we went along and so know where we were along the route. It worked well and now the book was actually following the waymarks. Formello was another large town and for a change we had to drop down to the old section it wasn't on a hill.
After leaving the town it was on a nice gravel track that started and finished with an engraved of a pilgrim on a paving slab.
Using the route description I was able to plan our tea break as it told us where to expect some seats along the path. When we got going again it was an undulating route as it made its way round the contour path on a hill. It appears to be mainly sheep farming in this area and we passed fields with bleating sheep and surprisingly for this time of year small lambs. There were a few spots of rain but it didn't come to anything. We crossed a bridge over the Via Cassia then climbed a hill to a model aeroplane club. The members were flying their small planes and we sat at the edge of a field and watched one loop-the-loop. As we came round in front of the club house we stopped to admire the various models that were on display. At that point the rain did start and we had to get our waterproofs on. It continued until we finished but didn't get too heavy.
After leaving the model plane flying club the route headed along a ridge on a nice track before turning down a steep rocky rutted lane to the Torrente Valchetta.
On the way down there was a guy on a mountain bike coming up, he seemed to be managing well and had enough breath to wish us 'buon giorno' as he past. The river had to be forded but the guide book said there were large steeping stones to help cross. There were large stones but the water was high and flowing over the stones. Moira was very nervous about getting across but there wasn't any alternative. I went first and didn't bother about changing into my sandals I just waded in. Halfway over I waited and gave Moira a help by holding out by walking pole for her to hold on to. We managed but it could have been a disaster if we had fallen, there was a big drop on one side and with a heavy rucksack on your back, well it doesn't bear thinking about. Once over it was about a kilometre on a very muddy track then a steep climb to Isola Farnese.
At the top of the hill there was t-junction and waymarks pointing each way. One way took you to the old town and would have to returned again to continue. We missed out this visit, having seen enough of old walled towns, and headed through the outskirts of the newer section. The road climbed and climbed and climbed, we were exhausted when it eventually levelled out. Moira checked the map on her iPad and this time our location was registering and we were nearly in La Storta and our hotel. About 100 m later the exit boards for Isola Farnese appeared followed immediately with the entrance ones for La Storta. Next we came to the junction with the Via Cassia and our hotel was on this road . There was a supermarket just after the turning and Moira got some beer, wine and milk. We were going to have lunch there, the left-over pizza with a beer but looking at the map on the iPad again it showed we were nearly at our hotel, Albergo Cassia. It was in fact about 200m from the supermarket. It didn't take long to get into the room, the receptionist was dealing with the documentation and our passports later. The room was standard; small, double bed and en suite. We had our pizza and beer now and got the Internet which was strong enough to receive the radio.
There wasn't anything to do in La Storta, it was just a town on the outskirts of Rome that straddled the Via Cassia. It's only claim to fame was that Ignatius Loyola stopped here on his way to Rome and had a vision of Christ carrying the cross then went on to from the Jesuits. The event is commemorated with the building of a chapel, Chapella della Visione, which is further down the road that we will pass tomorrow. What with the weather and feeling tired we just stayed in and listened to the radio. Moira did go out again to the supermarket and bought some chicken breasts which she later made into a curry which we had with pasta. She managed to cook this very delicious meal on the Gaz cooker with just one pot.
It was more reading and listening to music on the radio until bedtime. This was a busier hotel that the ones we have been staying in the villages and country, so it was a bit noisy with people coming and going to their rooms. Nevertheless we managed to get a good night's sleep. One day to go, tomorrow we arrive in Rome !