I waited until 8am before I set off this morning as that’s when the little supermarket nearby opened. At most Italian supermarkets you can have a panino made up for you. They weigh each item, even the bread, to work out the cost.

At the Leonessa supermarket.

Unlike in our base in Bologna, in this part of Italy, everyone still wears a mask in shops.

The route leaves town by the pathway that skirts the town walls.

The walls of Leonessa

The first 5km or so are on a bitumen road but with hardly any traffic. There were literally thousands of butterflies.

Three butterflies on a flower.

The turn off onto a forestry track is marked by an impressive wood carving, with the figure pointing the way.

From here it was a constant climb up 500m over about 4km, immersed in a beech forest. Trees along the track had been trimmed back many times resulting in gnarled and twisted trunks

It was quite a steep climb of over a hour to the top.

Eventually I reached an open pasture called ‘The Field of Saint Bartholomew after a chapel that once stood here. There were cattle, horses and an inquisitive donkey.

A bit further on was another of the border markers (cippi in Italian) erected after a long period of dispute between the Papal States and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.

On one side is the date of erection, 1847, and the crossed key symbol of the papacy. On the other is the post number and the Bourbon fleur-de-lys. Just 14 years later, the unified Kingdom of Italy was proclaimed, making these markers redundant

In another large pasture was one of those wonderful fountains fed by springs. I had been told at Leonessa that it would probably be dry due to the extended dry spell here.

As a result I had been eeking out the two litres of water that I carry. However I was happy to find it flowing with cool, clear water.

From here the path is one of steep descent with a slippery surface composed of stones of various sizes.

I was almost at the bottom when I slipped, went flying through the air, and gave the side of my face a nasty smack against a rock .

Me just before my accident.

Nothing seems to be broken or chipped although it does hurt a little to swallow.

A bit further down I had views of my destination Poggio Bustone and the valley beyond

Above the town is a Franciscan monastery near a small cave which was a place of prayer for the first Franciscan community.

I reached the Poggio Bustone, which a veritable labyrinth of little passages, tunnels and stairways. Here’s the view from my bedroom window.

Not only do I get lost trying to find my hostel, I also get lost trying to find my room in the hostel, which is also a maze of stairs and corridors .

I was chatting with someone who mentioned that chemists sell dry ice packs so I went to buy one as my chin is swollen.

I got into trouble for going into the shop when another customer was there as I was supposed to wait outside . The chemist turned out to be very friendly and chatty . I ran into him after dinner when he was shutting up his shop .

A hot day is forecast for tomorrow for my walk down to Rieti. Luckily there’s no climbing!