Better to enter the caves, thousand-year old hypogea dwellings that will shelter us even if rain isn’t expected, to the contrary! I guess the star dotted night sky will only watch over our motorcycles.
We lay in our cave and turn off the lights amongst the incredulity of some and the excitement of others.
Since I sleep like a log, in the morning I’m the last to get up, the others are already out taking pictures from the cliff edge; dawn is crystal clear and beautiful; beyond the Tiber, in the background, there is Umbria with its hills and clinging borghi.
We are relaxed: the tour is easy, measured on our skills and bikes, but still it’s about 200 km with not 30% of paved roads! We climb the sides of Mount Cimino to the paved road that looks over the Lake of Vico from where we head for Capranica through a magnificent, shady, beech forest.
After we stop for gas, we go to the rail station and take a railroad. Yep, if Piemonte is the land of military roads, the center of Italy is the land of abandoned railroads!
The old Orte-Civitavecchia railroad is the typical Italian unfinished project: despite having been cleaned up and renewed in the nineties, the rails have never been laid; so, we now have an 80 km dirt track on good terrain that practically reaches the sea.
We ride along this track through tunnels, trenches, bridges and beginning of the century rail stations, it’s like being in the Far West.
When we reach the steel bridge over the Mignone river the road is closed by a fence that must be bypassed to proceed, but a more engaging trail is planned for our tour from Monteromano so we won’t ride along the whole railroad, at least not this time.
Before reaching the town, we stop for lunch on the top of a hill from which we can see the sea under us; two slices of salami and a piece of bread and we are off again through the military firing range of Monteromano.
However, the heavy thuds of mortar fire in the distance tell us that the gates are closed for maneuvers, so we change our plan taking farm trails through fields of crops that lead us to the Lake of Bolsena in the afternoon; here - tired, satisfied and content - we stop for a drink and a few hours of relax on the grassy lakefront of Montefiascone before heading for the borgo of Vitorchiano, where we will stay overnight in a comfortable “conventional” bed.
Sunday, after a good night rest, we take it easy while we head for Civita di Bagnoregio on paved panoramic roads between Umbria and Lazio.