The climb to Santa Christina Gela: Magna Via Francigena giorno uno (day one)

Leaving Palermo on Sunday morning was pretty quiet, just a few kilometers out of town you are in the foothills of the Palermo mountains and in the town of Monreale where there is a magnificent Cathedral.The story goes… William II, a rival to Walter the Mill, was determined to overshadow the cathedral in Palermo. Building commenced in 1174. The mosaics were completed over a ten year span using Greek craftsmanship and Byzantine influences. The mosaics depict scenes from the Old and New Testaments and run in four rows. In the apse, there is a giant mosaic of Christ.For perspective, his little finger on his right hand is more than three feet long. The floor of the cathedral has Cosmati pavement with beautiful inlays. The smaller chapels have interesting scenes displayed as well. It would be easy to spend several hours ogling the breathtaking work. A looming 15 miles uphill to Santa Christina Gela and the start of a two hour Sunday mass hastened our departure from Monreale and its cathedral.We found our first marking of the MVF route and headed towards the mountains. The walk was quiet with some nice mountain views, several farms and orchards. The climb was steep and steady. Unfortunately, most of the walk was on roadways without sidewalks.We came across some homeowners in their front yard just when we needed water. There was no place to purchase any kind of snack or drink along our route. These wonderful people gave us water and peach tea. On this super hot day, we needed the stop and drinks. The small hamlet of Santa Christina Gela was truly the only town we came to along our walk. The small mountain town offers great views of the valley and lake.Our bed and breakfast is lovely and the hosts, incredible. The husband, Franck, also has a restaurant in the center of town. Great knowing the owner when you go to dinner. We sampled wine from a vineyard a few kilometers away, a beer from Sardinia, cheese his mother made, eggplant bruschetta and the best cannoli in the world topped with pistachio of course. There was also a procession around the town for Padre Pio, the patron Saint of Palermo.There is a free app called Relive which lets you track your day and makes a movie. David tried it out for part of today’s journey, take a look


Now that we are in the mountains, we are hopeful our path will be bucolic and off the car route.

9 thoughts on “The climb to Santa Christina Gela: Magna Via Francigena giorno uno (day one)

      1. The essentials!!! Bag transfer is a good thing. My other friends are walking the Camino Norte in Spain, and no such thing as bag transfer there… on 20+ mile days with huge climbs, they wish that there was!

        I miss being there, but I could not go. There was a huge luggage snafu with the airline, and they almost could not begin, but they got it literally at the last minute.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The Norte looks very difficult. Is your buddy doing the costal or central route? If costal…I recommend the spiritual variant. Also staying in Caminha instead of crossing and staying in Aguarda


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