Mompeo to Farfa

Day Seven of walking

Sam with Stefano discussing grass mowing techniques. Donkeys are preferred over goats who eat everything!
Le Mole sul Farfa. Our bathroom is the top window

Mompeo to Farfa

Ready to go. Impending rain

8km km 3 hours –

Weather – light rain at times-

With our rain coats on we set out to Farfa. It was great to have Peter with us as we headed down the track.

A gentle stroll

As I mentioned in the last blog I was really on the lookout for wild asparagus. Alex was with me with this task.

stages of growth of the asparagus

I had been watching out for it every day on this journey and I now know that I was looking for the wrong thing. In fact we had seen masses of prickly stalks everywhere and probably as we were headed south we getting further and further away from the season.


I was looking for the asparagus that pops up like a weed in my garden. It isn’t like that at all (except when it shoots and this is what we eat)

I had hoped to be able to ask someone on our journey and it wasn’t until we reached Le Mole sul Farfa that I saw it in a vase on a table that I knew I was in the right place to ask.

Alex and I found some fresh ‘buds’ as we walked along. We had a taste and agreed we were successful.

Asparagus plant blooming . Very prickly at this point

Interesting that when others tried it they thought it bitter but I think that is because we were gradually picking ones that were a little older.  Mystery number one solved.

gaul from oak tree

Mystery number two: On our walk from day one we had noticed these interesting growths on the oak trees. Because there were so many we decided it must be a different sort of oak tree. Even though when I googled Italian oak trees at night I didn’t find it.

In fact Stefano explained that it is a ‘gaul’ Such a gorgeous specimen. Another mystery solved.

Pencil pines scattered through the valley

The walk today was a pleasant one. There was the downhill walking on concrete paths that were made a little more tricky because of the wet but not really a problem.

Flour and water mill

We passed through a Roman oil and flour mill. Great place to explore and think about how it worked with the various rooms as well as being amazed that even the round mill stones were there. We are talking about ruins from over 2000 years ago!

mill stone
Bridge over mill
mill stone

Then it was on through the light woodland then through a small town and then on to Farfa where we had lunch in the Trattoria da Lupi and enjoyed watching the chefs work with the wood fired oven. There were lots of family groups here enjoying their Sunday together.

Oven in restaurant in Farfa. Note the cardboard flap with keyhole for checking the fire.
Bridge near mill

From there we went on an adventure with Stefano who took us to his Roman Villa and explained how he was excavating this amazing complex under rubble and dung. He has done an amazing job with the assistance of friends and others who come to work for keep. (He is working up to another month of this work)

One entrance to the Villa
Temporary fencing. Made using wire and sticks

We didn’t have to climb down into the pit we walked around past an old farm house and went through a tunnel (cave entrance where he began his excavations which you can sort of see on the chart I photographed of the Lazar scanned system.

This shows the floor plan of the Roman villa

He showed us the Romans had used wood to build form work to make the concrete walls with. The most interesting section was where he showed how olive oil was produced all those thousands of years ago. I did video him talking but the video is too long for this blog!

Stefano explaining how the olive oil making tanks work

The oil from the crushed olives poured through a hole in the roof into one pit with water and because oil is lighter than water with more water coming in from the side the oil would flow off into another tank. This would have been repeated to assist with the purification of the oil.

Wall making
Form work for the concrete. Amazing to think that the Romans were doing this 2000 years ago

Then it was off to visit the olive trees. One carbon dated to be thousands of years old.

This tree is more than 1600 years old. Stefano passionately telling us about the carbon dating. We ate olives from this tree
Olive grove at the Roman Villa site

Such a privilege to listen to a man who is working to ensure that these hills and their history can be preserved.

More of the olive grove
rocky terrain
olive tree

This was the end of our walk and we have now headed to Bologna and now about to leave Budapest.

Hopefully I will get to write about these places.

5 thoughts on “Mompeo to Farfa”

  1. Very educational. Thanks. And beautiful country. That thing could only be a gall but I’m surprised to see such a symmetrical one.

    1. Thanks Graham for the correct spelling of gall.They were all as symmetrical as that one. It was interesting to see inside as well when cut in half.

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