Lunch was soon served out under the Tuscan sun. We found a huge spread, some of which we remembered: a chunky bean soup called ribollita, roasted cinghiale (wild boar). Some others we definitely didn’t: tripe (trippa) in creamy tomato sauce, pretty novel for us two young Brits.
After food, we joined a walk back on the Via Francigena. It was surreal, almost as though we were meeting our past selves on the path. As we hiked, we spent a lot of time reflecting and remembering – walking, we’ve found, always gives us the headspace to do that. We walked with a nature guide who pointed out trees, animal tracks, the history of the land. We listened with one ear in the present, one foot in the past.
Dusk was falling when we got back to the abbey. The stalls were now strung with fairy lights, and musicians had begun to play on the stage. We got ourselves a huge platter of local food: farro, radicchio and pecorino cheese and listened to the lyrical Italian songs long into the night, the music echoing in the 900-year-old stone walls.