Stage 5.13 Italy. Sutri to Rome

5th May.  All roads led to Rome….the final day? 50km on Rome’s commuter roads

Sutri… another cold morning.   The bikes have been left outside and ready for us to go.   The intention was to make the earliest of starts to use the SS2 into Rome.   Indeed, a short steep downhill glide leads to that road.  We do not intend to use it as much as we do – but…  20km later we are on the trunk road to Rome, which becomes increasingly wide and very fast.  The traffic is fast and fierce, until, it is in a jam.    We have the great pleasure of overtaking kilometres of standing Romans in their Mercs and BMW’s!  The via Cassia gives way to the Via Trionfale, and then the inner suburbs and then real Roman inner grid.  We have until midday to get to the Vatican and the Sacristy – where Don Bruno will be waiting with our testimonium….

At 4 minutes to we tear up the left side of the basilica with the bikes and looking a bit less than fresh.  The Swiss guard exclude the bikes – Regula stays while I go for it with two minutes to spare.  I get to the office, with one minute to spare. 11.59.  The official informs me dryly that I am not wearing trousers.  Therefore cannot be admitted to the Sacristy…. Cycling shorts are not acceptable wear for the delicate sensibilities of the Catholic Church…Lord!  All that flesh below the knee!   However, he relents, and calls the sacristy.  No reply,  early lunch, and by now commiserations!  The Italians are not hard enough to be truly authoritarian.

I retreat with each level of security saying “domani”.  Guess that’s clear enough then.

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