While Matt and I were in Italy I took a much needed break from my computer, but I had fun sharing camera phone pictures every once in awhile on my Instagram page. One of those photos was this one, with the caption: “Yesterday a group of us went running in the Italian countryside, got super lost and made it 12 miles instead of 4. Hard to be upset about getting lost with views like this!”
And so, my friends, this is the story of the 4 mile run that turned into a 4 hour run.
On Friday morning in Italy, a group of us decided to go on a run. Matt, my grad school friend Lauren, and a German guy named Felix who was friends with the groom and I all set out around 11 a.m. to explore the Italian countryside on foot.
Let me preface this by saying that we were staying more or less in the middle of nowhere for the wedding. Our Italian host at the country home where we were staying gave us vague directions to a trail nearby, and we set off in the car in search of it.
After about 10 minutes of driving and no trails in sight, we decided to just park and start running on the roads. We were off!
The views were stunning with vineyards, beautiful vistas, and houses and small towns dotting the landscape.
After a couple miles, we found a trail and decided to forge a new path, away from the roads.
The trail got REALLY steep so we decided to transition to hiking vs. running…
Plus frequent stops for photos.
Before too long, we arrived in an adorable tiny town! A little old Italian man was walking down the street and tried to talk to us in rapid Italian, gesturing wildly with big smiles and saying something along the lines of wanting to invite us beautiful women into his house. Lol! We declined and forged on.
This is where things started to get a little dicey. By this point, we’d covered about 3 miles with a combination of running and walking. Our options were to either head back the same way we came, or to try to figure out how to do a shorter loop back to the car. Felix was using a run tracker with GPS on his phone and the boys decided we should continue on and try to connect the loop vs. retracing our steps. So on we went!
Within a few minutes, we were obviously completely lost.
What had looked like it might lead to roads was actually just tiny driveways and wooded trails, but we were determined, so on we went. Eventually, we came upon a farm. We tried to take the road by their house but it was a dead end (and also included scary dogs). So we decided to take a route through their field instead that looked on the phone like it would lead right to the road where our car was.
We decided to cool it on the running and walked instead, following the fence through the field down toward what looked like it would connect to the road.
But then… the fence path ended, and turned into a field. “The road is RIGHT there on the other side of this!” we all said. “Let’s keep going and see if it connects.” It’s also worth mentioning that at the end of the fence, we discovered that the fence was had been trampled, and the horses all raced down to join us for the walk. We were actually kind of scared – they came RACING towards us! But then ran off, uninterested. Whew!
So then we found ourselves walking through knee high grass.
We walked and walked and walked… and then discovered that between us and the road, there was a really thick and thorny forest, AND a stream. Epic fail. With no other option but to retrace our steps, we headed back the way we came.
Even though we were totally lost, the weather was gorgeous and the views were stunning, so we couldn’t complain.
On the walk back up to the farm we went inside the fence, since the horses had busted out. I’m pretty sure they were watching us like: “What are these idiots doing inside our pen when we’re out here, free?”
We made our way back to the cute town, and Lauren and I were ready to head back the same way we came, since we knew how to go that way. But… then we found an Italian truck driver who swore to us that the road going the other way connected back with the road where we parked, and that it was a lot shorter. Hmmm… what to do?
Clearly, we took the gamble of the shorter path back.
By this point, we were running again:
And running, and running, and running…
And then we realized that the truck driver had been totally wrong. We all started walking and surveyed our options. Go back the other way? No, by this point we’d gone way too far. We remembered the name of the town where we parked – Torregentile – we just had no idea at this point where it was or how far. We finally came upon a house and asked them where it was. After some confusion, they said we were close to the turn off for it and that we should continue the way we were going.
So on we went. More walk/running. Somewhere around this point, a car drove by with some German friends of Felix’s who were also in town for the wedding! They were also extremely lost and had a full car, but they said they would tell everyone at the wine tasting where we were supposed to be at that we were alive, and that if we continued on on the road, we’d shortly reach the turn off for the town we were looking for.
About 20 minutes later, just as we were about to give up and turn back, we finally found the turn off. From there, it looked like we were getting closer to the car on the run tracker Felix was using. Fingers crossed.
On we went. And on and on. Were we going the right way? It was too late to turn back, so we might as well keep going. By this point, it was after 3 p.m. – we had been gone for over 4 hours. We were glad we saw some people to let the others know we were fine and just on an accidental adventure!
And then, finally – TORREGENTILE!!!!!!!!!!
We made it!!!!
From here, it was about another 20 minutes back to the car – by the time we finally reached the car Felix’s GPS tracker said we had run/walked 12 miles. Wow! So much for a short 30 minute run, right? We hopped in the car and headed straight to the wine tasting, arriving sweaty, covered in scratches from our grass/field adventures, thirsty, and triumphant.
All in all, a pretty fun way to spend a beautiful day in Italy! Although I think next time I’d vote we just go back the same way we came…
Have you ever set out for a run or hike and gotten really lost? Any good stories to share?