It seemed the roughness of the track was commensurate with the magnificence of the views. The camera just cannot record what the eye can see, which is a great pity because we could see forever.
Into the forest of oak, birch and other fine leafed trees the paths became easier to walk and it wasn't all uphill!
This is a sample of the signage along the track, however it is sometimes just a smudge on a rock on the ground. This can lead to missing a turn, and it did!
Across on another ridge we noticed a thick swathe of pines running right up the ridge, and wondered why. Later we found ourselves at the foot of the avenue of pines with the daub telling us we should climb (yet again) to the top of the avenue. What a surprise to find an open area, a picnic and barbecue area and a memorial. All was revealed.
The plaque reads: On this mountain, in the dark days of this country, brave men fought for justice and freedom in Italy. Resurgence Brigade.
This is a tribute to the Partisans and the Resistance. What a special spot to find as we walked free through the mountains.
We reached Bellavista (and it was!) and headed on down the other side. After a long walk downhill we became aware that we had not seen any red and white signs for a while .... maybe at the next bend? NO, don't make me have to walk all the way back up that hill!
Eventually we reached the picnic spot again, having taken another unmarked track past what we presume was Pausillo. The cold pizza lunch revived the energy and after a short break we were walking again.
We kept seeing Paciano but it was always well out of reach. The incredible views kept coming and coming.
At last we were heading down hill. We walked past holiday homes and agriturismo establishments, through olive groves, along white roads and eventually came to the outskirts of Paciano. We passed Villa Fortuna, the home of Australian journalist and author Geoffrey Luck and came to the flat land at the base of Paciano.
But luck was not on our side. A sign post had been turned and we found ourselves entering a private property (clearly marked so) with what I thought was the steepest hill, that was until we left that property and made the final assault on Paciano.
Over four hours later, and about 15 kilometres, we arrived in the village. We barely had the energy to gasp 'due birre, per favore.'
After a shower, a rest and some figs and prosciutto we drove to Castiglione del Lago to see a movie at the outdoor cinema. This is set up in the castle during the summer and was good fun. The movie was an Italian comedy with no subtitles, entitled Se Dio Vuole. It seemed the actors spoke even faster than the people we see daily but we did manage to get the general story line.
We did feel that the energy we had expended during the day warranted a visit to the gelateria.