Firstly I must apologise for my absence. I’ve been off the radar for three weeks now, as I had to have surgery on some bones in my foot. I thought I’d be laid up on the couch post-recovery, researching and writing lots ~ and its not that the foot has particularly prevented me from writing, but the painkillers have prevented me from thinking very clearly at all. Many hours have been spent just dozing in front of the TV while the pile of books I was looking forward to reading went unread. Anyway, thankfully now the foot is on the mend and pain has subsided and the brain-fog is clearing.
Being denied the simple pleasure of walking anywhere at all for the last couple of weeks has made me realise this morning how much I really like to walk, and to hike, and how much a part of every trip away it is. Whenever I’m in any old world city I’d much rather walk everywhere, just to take in all the lovely little streets, to people-watch and so on, than take any form of public transport. One of the things I really love about European cities in particular is that they were built pre-car, so usually everything is usually within reasonable walking distance from anything else. Stumbling across local bars, trattorias or artisanal workshops are just as much of a joy as the final destination to me. As a result I feel like I know the streets – of Rome in particular – fairly well, even though I’ve never quite made it to all the tourists sights yet. I don’t mind that at all.
So I’m always on the lookout for an interesting and unknown walk or hike, and I recently came across this one that circumnavigates Florence. Its called the L’Anello del Rinascimento, or Renaissance Ring. It’s been created from little-used roads and trackways, and it includes sections of paved roads that go back to Roman or Medieval times. Its 178km’s crosses hills, woods and ploughed fields, and according to the Florence Tourism Authority the walker encounters “monasteries, castles and hospices to welcome pilgrims, ancient walled communities, country churches, and ideally the eye is always on the old centre of the city whose focal point is the dome of the cathedral, the masterpiece of Filippo Brunelleschi, which identifies Florence.” Sounds great to me!
Since I find about 12km’s a day (give or take) is an easy day’s walk, I recon it would take me a couple of weeks to complete the whole ring. To me, thats enough to get into the rhythm of a long walk without too much possibility of feeling like its an arduous penitential task. Of course if time allowed, I think it would be great idea to rest or maybe only walk a small amount say, every fifth day, so you’ve got time to rest and recover a little from any little injuries or strains.
According to the Florence tourist authority there are signs to guide tourists along their way, and since each section of the walk has a public transport link with Florence, its quite easy to get back into the centre of Florence when you’ve had enough. They have comprehensive downloadable documents on their site that you can use to guide you along each segment of the ring, describing the terrain, difficulty and places of interest in each section along the way. You can download them here:
The fact that I’ve never heard of this walk before is an added bonus. I don’t know anyone who’s ever heard of it either ~ hopefully that means it won’t be teeming with tourists, all jostling for position. If you’ve done this walk or know anything more about it, I’d love to hear from you.
Dreaming about a walk like this one helps me to tolerate the frustration of not being able to walk right now. Short term pain for long term gain. It won’t be long before I’m up and about, wearing proper shoes again. Can’t wait! Non vedo l’ora!