Via Francigena Stage 41 Viterbo to Vetralla
Via Francigena Stage 41 Viterbo to Vetralla is an 18 km easy walk with a steep section towards the end. The walk departs from Piazza San Lorenzo, under the Loggia of the Palazzo dei Papi. Walk under the arch, down the flight of stairs and turn left enjoying vistas of Viterbo and its city walls.
The Tufa Rocks of Strada Signorino
Exit the massive medieval city walls of Viterbo through the 13th century Porta di Valle. Then cross the road and walk along Strada Signorino. This narrow road is encased by tufa rock walls that date back to Etruscan times. In fact, there is an Etruscan cave on the way that deserves a visit with torch light.
At the end of Strada Signorino turn into Strada Risere which runs beside SS675. Walk along an unsealed road with cabbage farms as far as the eye can see on the right. After a short distance turn left and walk through an underpass and turn right onto a gravel road. Turn left into a trail which begins a steep ascent through olive groves. In the right season these olives are very tasty!
Continue through the olive groves enjoying the ancient olive trees and distant panoramic views. Stop for a rest break and absorb the views that extend right to the sea. Although this is a steep ascent the views are well worth the strenuous effort.
Outskirts of Vetralla
Continue along a series of unsealed and sealed roads finally arriving at the outskirts of Vetralla.
Santa Maria Forcassi
Just before entering Vetralla there is the remains of a small church where Sigeric stopped for the night on his return to Canterbury in 990 AD. In his day there was a small church and shelter for pilgrims. Today, traces of frescoes remain including images of Saints, a Crucifixion and a Madonna enthroned with Child dated between 14th and 15th centuries. In the central apse there are traces of the oldest 12th century frescoes of St Peter and St Paul alongside christ in the vault and some apostles on the walls below. There is a small rose window in the shape of Solomon’s Knot at the top of the main façade. For its historical value, the remains of this church are well worth a visit!