We finally came to this point. No quitting now having come this close. We walked the last 20 kilometers to St. Peter’s Square to earn our Testimonium or Pilgrim’s Certificate. I reminisced over my Sarria to Santiago de Compostela Camino experience. No sense comparing; each walks his own Camino, as they say. What I do know though is that I never really cared about that certificate. I enjoyed having my credenziale stamped, but I don’t remember having inspected or looked at that Pilgrim’s Certificate after I’ve earned it. It remains in the tube in which it came. I suspect it wouldn’t be any different with this Italian Camino. So when it was suggested there’s no rush getting it today, there were no arguments.
The final march was really quite uneventful. We walked from Isola Farnese to Roma on busy city roads, many of which have no sidewalks. We only stopped to visit a Jesuit Church and to buy porchetta from a roadside stall. It was another warm day. We stopped somewhere for light lunch and refreshments. Nothing fancy. It’s really more like a necessity to nourish and relieve ourselves.
The Monte Mario where one gets a panoramic view of the Eternal City of Rome is almost anti-climactic. The roadside walks do not prepare you for such. Neither does it help that the temps rose as we entered Rome. And the flight of stairs? Most unwelcome. Instead, we headed straight for our hotels, bathed, settled down then searched for a nearby bar. Refreshed, we trooped to Angry Pig on the same Via Tunisi (#38) where Piero’s Apartment is(#3). We celebrated the completion of our Via Francigena, as well as our friendship. The VF is a pilgrimage walk and it adds pleasure that we were able to do this with friends.
I will not pretend that the Via Francigena gave me a more meaningful Camino experience. But that is not to say I didn’t benefit nor enjoy it. I prayed my rosaries just as intensely and reflected just as seriously. The difference lies in the many opportunities to visit tiny chapels which really had emotional and spiritual meanings for me. In VF, it was difficult to meditate in prayer while doing roadside walks. Quite unsettling really as one hears and feels cars whizzing past in highways and busy city roads.
All told, it was a very rewarding trip. I’d walk with this fun group anytime anywhere. Comfort level very high that we need not pretend to be “nice”. 😀 But we were truly nice 😀 and cared for each other. Just saying we were comfortable with each other. Oh, am I repeating myself? 😂 Congratulations to my fellow pellegrinos. It was a pleasure walking in prayer with you ❤️ (And many thanks for the photos you shared which I’ve used here) Siamo amici!