Day 89 Vetralla to Sutri – 28th August

It was very comfortable and spacious accommodation and after a very good night’s sleep, I ate a full breakfast before setting out at 7.30 am. It was a bright warm morning as I walked past the colourful town flowers to meet the Via Francigena. About 2 kilometres out of the town I passed by the Monastero delle Belledettine which I learned later provides beds for passing pilgrims. The path then followed quiet country roads before veering off onto a glorious shaded woodland track and then through plantations of hazelnuts. Italy produces over 100,000 tones of hazelnuts each year and 50% is within the Campania. The trees had recently been sprayed and there were warning signs about not picking the nuts or eating those that had fallen. Unexpectedly in one of the plantations, I came to the ruins of the Orlando Tower, The remains of a bell tower belonging to a Benedictine church “Sancta Maria in Campis”. Here I found Margaret, the Dutch pilgrim, enjoying a lunchtime picnic with her daughter beneath the shade of the hazelnut trees. From there the path led me to the delightful village of Capranica. It was lunchtime when I arrived so I found a café where I enjoyed a light lunch. After lunch, I walked through the narrow streets of the old city calling into the Church of Saint John Evangelist. It was siesta time and the village cats were sleeping lazily as I passed mysterious alleyways and steps rose above the street to the old houses above. I loved the old town of Capranica. The final stretch of the day’s walk took through a beautiful shaded wood with a stream running through it and little precarious wooden bridges to cross, it reminded me of woodlands back home. I arrived at the base of the hill on which Sutri is built at 3.30 pm and after the climb to the village, I was sitting at a bar enjoying my usual end of walk refreshing beer when I was joined by a young German pilgrim who I had briefly met earlier in the day. She told me she had stayed in the Monastero in Vetrella last night and was hoping to stay tonight with the nuns in Sutri. Unfortunately, there were no beds available so I offered a room in the small apartment I had rented which she readily accepted. In the evening I found Margaret and her daughter sharing a table for dinner with two other Dutch pilgrims, Arie and Johanna, who I had last seen near Ivrea. They kindly invited me to join them. It was good to chat and to hear about their respective pilgrimages.

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