Day90 Viterbo to Vetralla – Via Cava di Sant ‘Antonio and Olive Groves

After a typical breakfast of coffee toast and jam we headed out for Day90 of our long voyage from London. Ninety days, three months…wow.

Morning Update

Entering the Cave

After leaving the city of Viterbo we soon encountered the unexplained Via Cave. These channels were dug by the Etruscans or perhaps even their predecessors.

As we walked through them I was initially unimpressed. Later the depth of the channels (as much as 15m) really was astounding. All dug by hand of course.

Their purpose is a mystery but they are scattered through Tuscany. Some think they are defensive channels, others mere roads, but none of these explanations really justify the depth and extent of the network. Before I did any research I actually guessed they may have been dug to follow a vein of copper or tin or gold. It seems it will remain a mystery.

What we do know is that they are still used today. Somehow they accommodate two lanes of traffic, but we have no idea how that works as you will see below.

After we emerged from the “Caves” we coursed through groves of olive trees as the Via undulated southward toward Rome. The paths were primarily farmland and other than our first spotting of Nectarine trees and Hazlenut “trees” and a few other interesting plants, we saw nothing remarkable.

What is this?

We stopped for lunch at a hot spring. It was just a local one set up as a picnic spot. The water was lukewarm at best. But the grassy spot was perfect for a picnic – or so we thought.

Our warm picnic spot that quickly became chilly.

As we ate our Avocado, tinned Salmon, and chips, the wind picked up and we both got quite chilled. Before lunch was over, we had bundled up in almost all our layers of warm clothing. The wind packed quite a cold punch.

Tinned fish, bread, and an avocado – pilgrim lunch.

The wind persisted as we began walking again after lunch. Sometimes the wind gusts were strong enough to make us fight to walk in a straight line. There were even a few times the wind won.

We started to enter Vetralla and I began thinking this must be an ancient place. For about 100m on approach to the village there were little caves carved into the rock. Some seemed to be sheds, others displays, and still others has addresses as if someone lived inside. Perhaps they do – did I see a Baggins address…or did I imagine it?

The town however makes the most of its Francigena roots.

We found our lodging without any difficulty. Our host met us at the door and showed us around. Because we were still a little chilled after our usual cleanup routine, we enjoyed a nice hot cup of cappuccino. As a matter of fact, I am sipping it as I write.

Warming Up

As a result of today’s slightly longer than planned walk (by only 4km), tomorrow will be a bit shorter. That will give us the chance to take a 1km detour and see the Roman amphitheater of Sutri … now, I must go, because we still don’t have a place to stay for tomorrow and I should fix that. 🙂

Published by

Mark Dowty

"An Intentional Life"

7 thoughts on “Day90 Viterbo to Vetralla – Via Cava di Sant ‘Antonio and Olive Groves”

  1. Wow, 90 Tage unterwegs und nur noch wenige Tage bis zum Ziel. Wir bewundern Euch für diesen Weg. Wir haben alle Eure Berichte gelesen und sind beeindruckt. Grüßt mir die Apostel von Rom

    Wow, 90 days on the road and only a few days left to the destination. We admire you for this path. We have read all of your reports and are impressed. I greet the apostles of Rome

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ich finde es toll, dass du uns Apostel genannt hast. Es ist demütigend, aber ich bin in vielerlei Hinsicht genau. Ich hatte die Gelegenheit, meinen Glauben mit mehreren Menschen zu teilen und vielleicht sogar ein Herz zu Gott zu wenden. Was für ein Segen.


  2. I’m sure when they built those channels they did not even imagine a big tractor-trailer coming through! I sure will be glad when you guys are off those roads!

    I also thought of Bilbo Baggins! Very fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For the next 4 days (the last 4 days) I expect more traffic not less as we near Rome. But overall the drivers have been VERY courteous. Just recently however they no longer stop at passenger cross walks.


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