Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Shortened Hike in the Upper Tiber Area

Before the medieval Ponte alla Piera bridge
A few days ago I decided to embark on the long distance walk I had had in mind for many years: from Città di Castello (where I was born) to Florence (where I spent most important parts of my life).
I cannot say how many kilometres it might be as there isn't any definite trail.
I had thought to pass through the hills where there are some paths (in the valleys it is impossible to walk on footpaths)
Roughly the route should have been: Città di Castello - Citerna - Anghiari - Caprese - Chiusi - Badia Prataglia - Vallombrosa - Florence.

I knew that central Italy is normally hot in July and such a hike should be undertaken in early spring or in October (the latter to avoid because the hunting). But this year the weather seemed rather unsettled and less hot, so I decided to set out anyway without waiting for next spring. I am 67 and hill walking is getting tougher.

Poplars along the Tiber at dawn
At 5 a.m. on last July the 7th I set off from the Northern outskirts of Città di Castello which I crossed to get to the Tiber bank. There I followed the beautiful path along the river bearing NW.
At dawn I left the river bank and, after some up and downs through the hills, I got to Citerna where I admired the recently restored "Madonna di Citerna", a fantastic painted terracotta by Donatello.
Monterchi from the climb to Citerna
Being still too early for lunch I continued to walk and, after a descent I started, in very hot weather, to climb the steep slope to Anghiari where I arrived exhausted around 2 p.m.
I had lunch in a restaurant and being still early afternoon and having already visited Anghiari many times I went back to Città di Castello by bus where I remained at my sister's home the following day as well. I was very tired and stiff. In fact I had walked more than 28 km without previous training.

The next day I went by bus to Anghiari and walked up to Caprese Michelangelo (> 20 km) where I spent the night in an hotel.
Next morning I got up with a severe pain in my right knee. I realized that it would have been excruciating to continue walking the steep up and downs laying ahead. And, moreover, the heat was already unbearable so, sadly, I gave up the hike and returned to Città di Castello by bus.


1. Summer is definitely too hot for hiking in that area.
2. Because the long legs over hills, a suitable previous training is mandatory in order to avoid inflammations to knees, ankles, feet, etc.


No significant difference from the previous hikes. I didn't carry the second fleece nor the power plug adapter but the gain was balanced by more water and food needed because the heat and the distance between refreshment points.


The landscape is gorgeous. The path is rather well signposted but scarcely a footpath: often tarmacked roads and country lanes (at least the section I have walked).
La Verna in the background

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