About mid-way, there is an abandoned water tower, empty of water but full of trash. The skeleton of a rusty ladder leads to the center of the tank. The 10-meter climb was far less scary than the mystifying eeriness of the vacant and seemingly bottomless water tank. A glimpse into the tank is enough to send one hurrying down the ladder like someone scampering out of a graveyard after seeing a ghost.
On the other side of the road is a path winding up a small rocky hill. Following the inconspicuous path, you may notice occasional steps dug into the rocks. On the top of the hill is an out-of-place white tent as big as a tennis court. Under the tent lies the excavation site of Luni sul Mignone, the oldest building found in central Italy: a 12th century B. C. Etruscan dwelling. All the aboveground structures are long gone, but the steps, pillars and chambers dug into the rocks are still visible. An outcrop of the rocky cliff affords a panoramic view of the river valley a hundred meters below. For rock climbers, it is a delightful little playground, as handholds are already dug into the rock faces.
The last 18 km riding on the busy Via Aurelia is a little nerve-wracking but manageable. Civitavecchia is a lively port town with historical sites and a wide selection of restaurants. Before catching the train, a sunset dinner is a tasty ending to the all-day excursion.
– Contributed by Eva St. Onge who has traveled 30 countries and now lives in Rome. She spends most of her weekends hiking, cycling, running, rock climbing and kayaking. In her free time, she tries to maintain a full time job teaching biology and environmental science at the American Overseas School of Rome. Some of her adventures can be read on her blog,
Backpack Gone Wild. Photos of her travels can be seen online here.