About 5 km after our early start today we came to the modern town of Sutri which sits on a hill (surprise, surprise) above the ancient town of Sutri, now an archaeological park. We walked right along caves and grottoes carved into the rock, sometimes kitted out with niches or benches: a burial site of the Etruscans, the tribe that predated the Romans in this area.
A little farther along into our day’s trek mainly through farms and along highways over low hills, we met up with another pilgrim—it seems to be this last week on the way to Rome that we’re finally meeting up with others on the road. He’s a German doctor whose father was a Lutheran pastor (and best friends with the local Catholic priest—happy ecumenical news for us!). He joined us the rest of the day and we enjoyed his company greatly. Once we passed 4 Dutch pilgrims stopping for a lunch break; I wouldn’t be surprised if we see them again too before it’s all over too.
The day was very windy and cold but bright and sunny, and though we got barked at by a lot of dogs as usual none of them was off the leash, which was a relief. I slid on loose gravel once and fell pretty hard. I’m looking forward to the colorful collection of bruises that should emerge on my leg tomorrow but grateful that this probably counts as the worst injury of the whole trip. The winner of the strangest sight of the day prize was “Monte Gelato Ranch,” with both American and Italian flags flying from the wooden gate and the skull of a Texas longhorn mounted over the entrance.
Our destination was, gasp, a hilltop town! Campagnano di Roma winds along a ridge, distinguished by a bell-shaped belltower and another bell-shaped statue in the town square and one curiously Persian-looking building with arched windows and floral tiles on the outside walls. We also peeped into the store of an Italian artisan named Mastro Momo painting tiles by hand; somehow both the worker and the art seemed more authentic in what is obviously not a tourist town. A little beyond that we bid our German companion goodbye and marched on one last kilometer to (we hope) our last night in the camper. Two days till Rome!