Today we passed through the small town of Sabbioneta.  It is completely enclosed within Renaissance walls, and has UNESCO status in conjunction with the city of Mantova (Mantua).  Both places were ruled by the Gonzaga family, who produced a saint and a shocking number of bishops and cardinals.

I have lost track of the number of UNESCO sites that we have visited on this trip.  Every major city we have passed through has made the cut; Sabbioneta was remarkable only for the fact that it is just a small town.  Most of the designations come from Roman, medieval or Renaissance history, and for some cities, such as Verona, it is all three.  The depth of western history in northern Italy is staggering.

We are working our way up the Po River valley, a very flat region that produces vast quantities of food.  Recently it has been mostly wheat and corn, with a number of pungent pig farms.  Yesterday we saw our first rice field, a grain that is synonymous with the Po Valley in Italy.  Today I saw my first sunflower in bloom.

Summer is coming on with a vengeance.  It was 31 degrees today, with temperatures up to 36 forecast for the next week.  I have started to depart earlier in the morning to enjoy the cooler temperatures before midday.  I’m also treated to more animal sightings and better light for photos.  I’m mostly walking 28 to 32 km days, so it is getting quite warm by the time I reach our daily destination early in the afternoon.

We have now walked or cycled about 1220 kms from Budapest.  Looking ahead, we may just make it to Arles this year, though regardless we will recommence next Spring from wherever we finish this year.  We are giving serious thought to changing our route from the coast west of Genoa to a more northerly arc through Turin into the mountains.  The coast west of Genoa will be problematically crowded and expensive in July.  The Italian pilgrim two weeks ahead of us has made this change in route for the same reasons.

Follow Our Journey

Don't want to miss a post?

Sign-up below to receive notifications whenever we add a new post to our blog.