Day 42: Frascati to Pofi

Distance: 86.5 km

Time: 4 hours 7 minutes

Average speed: 21 kph

Cumulative distance: 2141.76 km

Cumulative time: 107 hours 14 minutes

Word of the day: ‘pecora’ (peh-core-ah) – sheep

Frascati sits in the Colli Albani, formerly an area of Roman villas, including that of Cicero, who lived in nearby Tusculum. Obviously today it is more well known for white wine, and since we didn’t have the energy to locate Tusculum, we decided to seek some white wine instead! Firstly we had a look at the cathedral in Piazza San Pietro. It is of a fairly unusual design, and constructed using Pietra Sperone del Tuscolo, a local volcanic tuff, notable for a dark greenish appearance.

Having satisfied the Captain’s geological curiosity we set off to our chosen restaurant, named Belvedere (beautiful view). They weren’t kidding – there were extensive views over the plains below, and we could see all the way back to Rome. This picture doesn’t really do it justice, but gives a general idea.

The restaurant was fabulous, and we sampled both Frascati white (still rather than sparkling) and red (Cabernet Franc) with our meal. While we ate, lightning bolts were lighting up the sky, and there were intermittent rainstorms. We used a lull in one of these to return to our hotel.

We’d set an early alarm for today, as it was one of our longer routes, with a stiff climb at the end. The weather was brighter and less humid, and after breakfast in the hotel we pedalled off through the cobbled streets. For the first few kilometres we contoured around the Frascati hills, sometimes gently climbing, on a fairly busy road. We were aiming for the plain which separates the Colli Albani and the Apennines, and while heading down there we passed numerous Frascati vineyards.

On reaching the town of Colleferro Scalo we encountered perhaps the worst road surfaces of our trip so far – while bouncing up and down on the terrible potholes I was composing (mentally!) a letter to the Mayor, chiding him or her for lack of attention to the roads. Perhaps the responsibility lies elsewhere. I’ll never send it, anyway!

To make up for the roads there was spectacular scenery to right and left – afforested mountains, gorgeous hilltop towns and, in the foreground, a lush arable landscape.

Eventually we turned off onto a much quieter road, and were able fully to enjoy our surroundings. There were sheep grazing in the roadside fields, and, as ever, the predominant crop was maize. After the hills which had characterised the start of the day, we were now descending gently, and maintaining a thoroughly satisfying pace. We refuelled on pizza slices at a friendly tavola calda in the town of Morolo Scalo, and refilled our bidons for the climb into Pofi.

Now we cycled amongst the vineyards for Cesanese del Piglio, a delicious wine we’ve already sampled more than once on this trip. Soon we caught a distant view of Pofi.

We should probably stop choosing hilltop towns for our destinations! It’s tough, after a long hot ride, to summon up the energy required to ascend the long steep climbs. We always manage, of course, but tend to arrive drenched and out of breath – not a great look when being greeted by our hosts.

Pofi is a delightful small town with spectacular views in all directions, including this one, which looks south east towards tomorrow’s destination Cassino, famous of course for the battle which raged there for four months in nineteen forty four.

Here’s today’s track.