Day 40: Labaro to Rome

Distance: 20.36 km

Time: 1 hour 2 minutes

Average speed: 19.7 kph

Cumulative distance: 1993.89 km

Cumulative time: 99 hours 31 minutes

Phrase of the day: ‘La Città Eterna’ (la chee-tah ay-tair-nah) – The Eternal City!

We ate linguine with a porcini mushroom sauce at a delightful outside table in the middle of the lawn near il tiglio (the eponymous lime tree), accompanied by wine from Frosinone, further south in Lazio. There were blueberries and raspberries to follow, before we adjourned to bed for an early start today.

Our lodgings were so close to the Roma tangenziale (ring road) that all we really needed to do this morning was to work our way down to the cycle path which accompanies the Tiber through Rome. Our excellent hosts showed us a short cut to the Via Flaminia, then we had only a short distance to cover on a fairly quiet road before cutting left onto the cycle path, which runs along the west side of the river.

It was an idyllic way to enter a busy capital city. Well, almost idyllic. There were a couple of sections where we had to haul our heavily laden tandem up and down long flights of steps. It seems churlish to complain too much though, as we were able to cycle for nearly twenty kilometres away from the traffic, and arrive at our destination in Trastevere.

Initially our surroundings were surprisingly rural, but after a while we saw increasing signs of the city. In particular we cycled under a number of spectacular bridges, but being low down by the river, with a high wall to our right, we didn’t spot too many of Rome’s sights. Still, there’s plenty of time for that.

All the while we were keeping an eye on Joshua’s flight from Leeds to Rome, so that we could meet up successfully. We arrived a little early outside our lodgings, but couldn’t check in until lunchtime. So we enjoyed people-watching from a nearby café until Joshua’s Uber delivered him to Piazza di Santa Maria. It was a joy to see him, and not just because he brought clean clothes!

Shortly afterwards we gained access to our apartment, showered, changed and set off for lunch outside a nearby café. Afterwards we wandered into the Basilica di Santa Maria, perhaps the most heavily decorated church we’ve seen in our journey so far – there was gold everywhere! It has a beautiful floor and some interesting frescoes, and the exterior is stunning.

So here we are, Rome at last! All roads lead here, but our route, as you can see below, looks more like the wanderings of a drunken spider! There’s method in it, though, as we’ve seen almost all of the places we’ve had on our list in northern Italy.

Here we shall remain for four nights, leaving on Monday when, unless we change our minds, we shall head for Frascati. We’re just short of two thousand kilometres now, with about one thousand five hundred still to go. There won’t be any further posts now until Monday night.

Here’s today’s track.