Finished. Suddenly feel exhausted. It’s been a marvellous journey. Physically very challenging but much time to contemplate as the pedals span round. Here we all are outside St Peters. 9 of the riders survived from our first trip along the Via Francigena in 2007.
Eating lunch under the acacia trees in Aquapendente (“hanging water” from the waterfalls). The Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre has an amazing 12th century crypt which reproduces the tomb at Jerusalem. Bare, empty, visible only if you pit €1 in the slot for light, there are figures at the burial, and then behind a metal grille the figures await the Christmas Nativity.
There are now regular viewings of other pilgrims on the way. Most are on foot with some on bikes. The route in Italy is reasonably well signposted. The lime tree avenues of France and Northern Italy giving shade along the route gave way to Stone Pines along the road in Piedmont. Now there are just pencil pines and harvested fields. Less than 100 miles to Rome.