Day forty-eight: Santhia to Vercelli

The only hills today were over-bridges. This part of Italy is famed for its rice, so walking among the paddies will be the standard for the next couple of days. But there is lots to contemplate as the snow caps of Northern Italy recede into the distance. (See photo.)

And being rice paddies, there is lots of water: one system for getting the water in, and another for getting the water out. This results in a fairly complex system of canals and channels. Fortunately it is close to harvest time so the focus is getting the water out. Normally it is serious mosquito territory, but today I got through relatively unscathed, not even needing to break out my newly acquired bottle of industrial strength repellant.
But what the lizards were to the vineyards above Lac Leman, the frogs are to the paddy field water system. And many wading birds. Perhaps that is the complete food chain: mosquitos, frogs and birds. Unfortunately I think pelligrinos slot in there below the mosquitos.
Today’s walk was almost town free. Instead there are huge farm complexes of an unknown vintage – some old enough to be suffering serious disrepair. Many appear to be build to be easily defended in case of a pleasant revolt or other civil strife. (See photo.)
The town of Vercelli is pleasant without being a must-see on a cultural tour of Italy. Once through the inevitable light industrial and housing estates, the old city has many grand buildings – although they are probably even better when seen from the inside. I did the self guided walking tour, which took in the Basilica of San Andrea, so that was a must see! There is also a Cathedral and several other major churches, and an old and impressive Synagogue. I’ve added a photo of the interior of the Church of St John. It was quite spectacular! Being Italy, there are sure to be some Roman relics, but they were not on my mapped itinerary. I’ve no doubt there will be more coming up.
And of course there is a Castello, which is now the Palace of Justice. Perhaps just a hint of irony in the repurposing? (Photo)
Tonight I had dinner in the Ostello. Always something of a mystery meal, but one can’t go far wrong in Italy: antipasta was salad; pasta was ????? but really delicious; and secondi was beef, roast potatoes and roasted peppers. And home made flan for dessert. Good thing I have many km to walk tomorrow!
Today’s km: 28

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