Soon after leaving Bagno this morning I came across the hamlet of Gualchiere. The name comes from the word gualchiera which means a fulling mill.
Fulling is the process of pounding of woollen cloth to cleanse and thicken it. All these buildings were water mills with the water running through the buildings .
The path I took today up through the mountains to the Serra Pass is a very old one indeed, dating back to Neolithic times.
It was quite moving to walk on the parts of the medieval road that still exist and think of pilgrims travelling the same way 800 years ago.
Here you can see a cross section of the road surface where it has been eroded .
In this section a retaining wall has been built on one side .
I used my walking poles for only the second time as it was quite steep and slippery . Even so, I still managed to fall over once!
Here’s a view of the pass from a few kilometres away .
The mountains are composed of thousands and thousands of layers of sedimentary rock as they were originally underwater .
Near the top there was very little vegetation . This looks like a mud brick pyramid I’ve visited in Peru.
These flowers were growing out of the rock.
I think this might be a hide for hunting.
It was very fulfilling to finally reach the top. I was now in Tuscany, my fourth Italian region on this walk. 2 more to go.
I noticed quite a few wild flowers I hadn’t seen before on the southern side of the pass
The walk today seemed to never end. I’d only gone 18km but it had taken over 7 hours.
There are two options for this part of the VRG and I took the traditional route rather than that via La Verna which a location where Saint Francis spent considerable time and very popular with Italian pilgrims.
There were a few little villages towards the end of my walk.
I finally reached my destination – a refugio or country guest house for walkers .
There are 6 of us here tonight so I had some company for dinner.
Tomorrow I keep heading south with a lot less climbing to do thank goodness !