Pontremoli to Aulla, 13.52km walking, train
The early morning rain ended as we left the apartment, backtracking into the centre of the town for coffee and croissants. Here, we found the Saturday market setting up, where we bought bread, fruit, and potato and onion flan for lunch.
On the outskirts of Pontremoli, we noticed sculptures of Disney figures. We later read that
there are two popular Italian cartoon booklets, Topolina (Mickey Mouse) and Paperion (Donald Duck), often in serial form, about the adventures of these Walt Disney characters.
The route today stayed mostly in the valley, meandering through forest and amongst vineyards and orchards. In the small medieval village of Ponticello, we were interested to find tower-houses. Locally called caminà, this type of housing was created as fortified buildings.
A placard details: “These were stone structures that served simultaneously, as the name suggests, as both residences and fortresses. The access door was on the upper floor and was served by a retractable staircase. On the ground floor there was a cistern for access to drinking water in the event of a siege. These structures date back to the 11th and 13th centuries.” We couldn’t find any remaining retractable staircases.
Further on in Filattiera, we passed the 12thC Romanesque Santo Stefano Church, which houses two of seven Stele Statues found locally. We assumed the stele behind the church must be replicas.
Aware that thunderstorms were forecast, we watched the sky grow progressively darker and decided to hop the next train to Aulla from Filattiera as lightening began to flash.
It was raining hard when we arrived the delightful B&B Bed and Bike. It is run by a couple of cycling enthusiasts, who own a bike store below. The host was gracious and the apartment wonderful. We shared some cycling experiences with the help of Google Translate.
Our host recommended a pizza restaurant nearby and urged us to try the farinata as an appetizer, which we did and it was delicious. It is a shallow savory pie made out of water and chickpea flour, baked in a wood-fired oven to form a golden crust.