I left Siena alone as the three of us hadn’t quite managed to connect after staying in different places.

The Via Francigena route took me out the huge Porta Romana or Roman Gate. This was just past the Psychiatric Hospital which I passed without incident.

 The countryside today was completely different to what I had seen before with hardly an olive tree or grape vine to be seen. I did see this venerable old vine just outside of Siena.

The countryside today comprised for the most part rolling hills, almost devoid of trees, given over largely to fields of grain. I had trouble with my super dooper wraparound prescription Maui Jim sunglasses again today.  They just kept fogging up. I had the same problem in the mountains .I  couldn’t wear them til after midday.


One tree hill


Many tree hill

Along the way I passed the massive medieval fortified grain store at Grancia Di Cuna. It belonged to the Ospedale of Santa Maria Della Scala which I visited yesterday. They became quite wealthy owning considerable land. They paid employees such as wet nurses with grain. The fortification was necessary due to the political instability at the time.

A bit of restoration work is underway

Time for a break


My stopping place tonight is the small town of Ponte  D’Arbia. The bridge over the river Arbia dates from 1380 but was substantially rebuilt in 1629.

 Inexplicably , after weeks of seeing virtually no one else along the Via Francigena, tonight the hostel is pretty well full. Five French guys doing a 50km a day express walk, 5 italian girls doing a 3 day walk and a couple of ladies from Florence doing something similar. I wonder if we’ll be back to empty hostels or whether we’ve hit a change in season ? And Jean-Michel has decided to go home. He has just too much pain in his knee.