Meet our Dutch walking friend, Mat. We met up with him on our first night in Italy, when Jenny was still with us and since then our paths continue to cross. Last night the 3 of us shared the pilgrim accommodation at Santhia. Mat has Coeliac Disease and finds it difficult at times to get his food needs met, as he cannot eat the Italian staples like pasta or bread.
The entrance to Santhia’s pilgrim accommodation which is next door to the church.
Soroptimist club of Santhia, Italy, is acknowledged for their donation of these street signs directing passing Pilgrims to the Via Francigena route.
The church here in Santhia was founded by the Franciscan’s, who traditionally wear brown robes and leather sandals as depicted in this painting on the church’s exterior wall.
The Italian route of the Via Francigena.
Today we started out walking beside rice paddies.
And finished at Vercelli walking beside more rice paddies!!
The day had been very hot, with little to no shade at all for the entire 27.5kms. It was humid due to the water lying around on the paddies. It was also mosquito central – there was a constant hum of them dive bombing us as we walked along. We were glad to get away from the rural area and into urban Vercelli but disappointed to hear that the rice paddies continue to Pavia – several days of walking ahead of us!!!
The churches in the towns we walked through today looked like they were in a state of benign neglect like this one. Mostly they’re still used, but some only intermittently, and clearly they don’t have the parish numbers to fund maintenance when it’s needed.
Onward we pressed despite the hot and bumid weather conditions around the rice paddy fields where we walked here in northern Italy. At last we entered the city leaving behind the mosquito poblem
We eventually found the Ostella we’re booked into and were asked if we’d like to join a weekly dining group at the Ostello tonight at 8pm. We said yes!!!
This was our delightful Italian dining group that welcomed us warmly with conversation, food and wine tonight. Mario was the translater who managed to keep us informed in regard to our walk tomorrow and all manner of relevant issues a traveller needs to be across.