Today we felt like extras in “Under the Tuscan Sun”, although we had to keep a weather eye out for those pesky thunderstorms. These were skillfully avoided by making a pit stop to repack everything in dry bags. What wasn’t avoided was the roller coaster walk up and down the ridges and valleys of Tuscany. The historical information, posted periodically on very informative trail side guides to the via francigena, is that the traditional paths between towns primarily followed the ridges for speed in movement and the advantage of commanding the heights (for defensive purposes). Eventually one needs to descent into a valley, and to attain the next ridge requires some serious uphill effort.
So it was for the last hour of the day as we stumbled up the steep incline towards Gambassi Terme. Our night stop was just shy of the town, staying in the Ostello Sigeric. This Church and hostel complex has been documented back to the 900s as they have the original deed of the land being gifted for the building of the church. Of all the towns that Sigeric documented staying in, this is, apparently, the only one one can be certain that you are actually overnighting in the same building complex as Sigeric. It has been recently been renovated (a refresh of the mattresses, upgraded plumbing etc) and the staff were super friendly and accommodating, and a great dinner was provided – which saved us the 1 km trek up the hill to the town in search of a restaurant!