From Toro to Pietracatella

5 - From Toro to Pietracatella

Clck per allargare

Departure at dawn once again. On leaving Toro a sign draws my attention towards two ancient fountains which have recently been discovered and restored. I take my ritual photos, then I must rush off: the tratturo is calling me and I must get down the hill quickly. Besides, I have an appointment and I do not want to be late. Indeed, at the end of a long descent across the Tappino creek a beautiful humpback bridge lies waiting for me. Despite its being centuries old, it is in excellent condition. I admire it for a while but I soon have to get back to my journey.

From this point on the tratturo follows the course of the Tappino creek closely. Unfortunately, it has been covered completely by the SS645 road. Damn, I have just found it and already I have to look for an alternative. A path, mostly overgrown with weeds, climbs up one side of the hill and runs parallel to the tratturo. I may not be able to walk along the tratturo, but at least I can keep an eye on it!

Everything seems to be going smoothly, when on the horizon I see a house which looks as if it's slightly crooked. The closer I get, the stronger the impression gets. When at last I reach the house, I realize it is tilted completely to one side: a landslide has moved its foundations. Despite the steep angle it is set at, it is still standing: there are no cracks anywhere. Whoever designed the building knew their stuff... well, yes, if we overlook the fact that he clearly knew nothing of geology and built on land subject to landslides!

The landslide is very large and is not easy to get past. I look up searching for an alternative and in doing so I discover where the house had been standing: it had practically slid down half the hill. Indeed whoever designed the structure did know their stuff... of course still neglecting the small detail of the landslide! But that's just a tiny detail!

I somehow manage to get past the landslide. No trace of the path: yet, according to my GPS I should be standing on it. Actually, even the path has moved along the hillside together with the landslide. I have to go a few metres downhill to find it. The main thing is that it is still there. I stumble upon other sections affected by landslides. The heavy rains of the past winter must have somehow destabilized the whole hill.

The path slowly descends downstream, towards the Tappino creek and, consequently, towards the tratturo. From here on, if I were to follow the tratturo faithfully, I should keep on the SS645 road, but I had already planned to spend the night in Pietracatella so, to my great disappointment, I must abandon my old friend once again and head towards my destination.

A new climb. On asphalt at first, then on convenient white roads up to when the village comes into sight. Rare trees occasionally offer some shade: the coolness of the early morning has been replaced by the roasting midday temperatures and the glare of the white road provides no respite.

I find the first fountain of the day when I have already reached Pietracatella: better late than never. The owners of the B&B do all they possibly can to make me feel at home. Having showered, I find the living room has been laid out for lunch with all kinds of delicacy. The landlady tells me it's nothing much, just leftovers... but it's actually a full-blown lunch. Once again, everyone is going to great lengths to pamper me!

In the afternoon, I have my usual wander around the village. It is pleasant to get lost in the narrow alleys which can only be walked along. Looking out from a terrace, I realize that the wind turbines are becoming more and more frequent as I travel towards the south.

Aperitif in the town square, near a bar where countless tables welcome card players and their onlookers. The noise made by the players as they slam their cards onto the tables is unbelievable!

In the evening, a local charity festival grants me a tasty dinner, accompanied by the music of the ever-present keyboard player and singer. The evening ends in the B&B with a pleasant chat with the proprietors. Needless to say that as we talk about tratturos, they keep on treating me to local food: even this year, despite walking so many kilometres, I will have put on weight at the end!

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