Forte Canarbino - Trebiano - Romito Magra - Sarzana - Molicciara - Castelnuovo Magra
15 km + 5 km detour up to Castelnuovo Magra
Evil weather forecast, and so I set off at first light in order to reach my safe haven, a small flat I had booked for the next two nights through airbnb, before the rain. And I ALMOST made it! After following a pleasant footpath through the village of Trebiano down to Romito Magra and breakfasting on freshly baked pastries in a roadside cafè, I had to walk along the side of the road as far as Sarzana, as the footpaths that so promisingly appeared along the banks of the river on my map proved to be non-existent, or impossible to find.
After stopping in Sarzana to look at the cathedral and the fortress, it was time to switch maps and get onto the main trail of the Via Francigena, the ancient pilgrimage route to Rome. But no sooner had I found the trail - recently re-routed and moved slightly farther inland in order to stay off major roads - than it began to sprinkle with rain, which soon turned into a downpour. At this point my airbnb hosts, Eros and his daughter Ilaria, called and offered to come and pick me up. They took me back to their home, where I was able to change into dry clothes and enjoy a traditional Italian Sunday lunch of Nonna's homemade lasagne, a roast (which I managed not to eat) and home-grown tomatoes, followed by the traditional Sunday tray of pasticcini from the pastry shop.
After lunch they took me and my wet things to the apartment, where the forat thing I did was throw everything except what I was wearing into the washing machine. They had also accompanied me to the local supermarket to get in enough groceries to last a couple of days - and so there I was, ready to weather the storm safe and sound, and with a full tummy!