Francigena Val di Susa Marathon
On the 17th June I walked in the second of four Francigena Marathons in Italy for this year. The Francigena Val di Susa Marathon began at Avigliana near Turin and ended 42 km away in the medieval city of Susa.
The marathon began in the Piazza del Popolo in Avigliana. And soon we were on our way making haste across the ancient Piazza Conte Rosso. There was an air of exhilaration as the crowd wound its way beneath the ruins of the ancient castle.
Walking through Bertassi I began to notice some very steep mountains. And sure enough, arriving at Sant’Ambrogio di Torino everyone’s attention turned skywards. Then I realised that atop Mount Pirchiriano was our destination – Sacra di San Michele.
We soon left the easy, scenic walk through the valley to ascend almost 1000 m to our first 10 km destination. The almost perpendicular ascent was negotiated by endless twists and turns negotiating the ancient Roman and Medieval cobble stones.
I made my way upwards by constantly sitting on every rock that looked like a seat. And, I marvelled at the endless stream of red t-shirts surging ever upwards. Along the way we followed the Stations of the Cross and Station XIV was a welcome sight.
Sacra di San Michele
It was a such a pleasure to finally catch a glimpse of Sacra di San Michele. And soon we were sitting eating bananas and cakes and drinking bottles of water.
Then, it was time to face the descent. I was feeling really pleased to make it to the top without any injuries. And with great determination I made the 1000 m descent, through streams and over the cobbles stones and rocks. Again, I was thrilled to make it to level land all in one piece!
Finally, after walking 21 km, we arrived at Certosa di Banda. And to my surprise there was an enormous room full of weary walkers. They were resting, eating bowls of pasta, cakes, fruit, coffee and celebrating their achievement.
It was another 21 km to Susa. So, I decided to go by bus. Susa is an ancient city with a fascinating history. And, at the finishing line, we received our certificate for the marathon in an ancient Roman Amphitheatre.
This marathon was a peculiar mix of fatigue and pleasure. It was definitely physically challenging but very satisfying to achieve it! The scenery, ancient architecture, history and culture are totally awesome. And, I can’t wait to return to visit the places I could only catch a glimpse of whilst walking!