The rain has left us a freshly washed path as the sun tempered the morning chill. We had our last breakfast with the flying Italian Ermanno, with his natural ease and his ready smile, and the ever steady towering Dutchman Philip, before we began our noisy walk through outer Roma on the Via Cassia. Two large parks quietened us as we reflected on the final stretch of a long and rewarding journey.

At our last morning bar break three walkers of the long camino from Canterbury joined us – Roland and Rosemarie, the Swiss couple who have been a constant joy, and determined Nicholas from England. Roland and I stood at the bar drinking our last cup of coffee like 2 old Italian locals, while the others filled the bar noisily like the younger Romans would. The Danish couple later joined us as we paused for panini, and the Canadians dropped by as we looked out over the 7 hills of Rome.

With Ermanno setting a lively pace, maybe to get us more quickly off the streets, we walked like Parkinson’s people doing John Pepper’s fast walking technique in an attempt to reduce those nasty Pd symptoms. Or maybe our Italian friend thought that this technique may prevent Pd because he had shown great interest when I explained it to him earlier.

Then the final 3km through the busy streets of Rome to St Peters. A few hugs and kisses to the 2 boys and Corrie and I were off again in search of accommodation. Eating pasta on a pavement cafe, we accidentally found a small 2 star hotel near the station – that is where you go when Rome is booked, and received a large 5 star treatment from the best hotel owner in town.

From now on the posts will be under ‘Italy 2016’ on the home page – thanks for joining Corrie and I and friends on the Italian section of the via Francigena and for your emails of support.