From Rome we headed into the Umbrian hillside and the hill town of Assisi. Noted most of all for its hometown boy, St. Francis. Assisi was a pleasant change of pace from the freneticism of Rome. Small and perched on a pinnacle with commanding views over the surrounding valleys, it was a nice place to stay for a day.
The principle reason persons come to Assisi is to take in the town of St. Francis who, around 1200, challenged the excess of church government and society generally with a philosophy of simplistic, nonmaterial, living. A large monastic order has since grown from those teachings, and Fransican's (e.g. Franciscan monks) can be found throughout the world. Consider that San Francisco is, of course, named after this pious man.
The principal site in Assisi is the Basilica of St. Francis (also seen in the above photo), a towering church built to honor St. Francis who is buried here. Inside, it is exquisitely frescoed and is really quite an impressive experience.
The hometown boy can be found throughout the town. Here
he is immortalized between four windows. The message of St. Francis does
have a compelling appeal, as he was incredibly sensitive and caring for both the
environment and animals
Here we are enjoying what became our morning routine: cappuccino and pastries in the morning for breakfast. The coffee in Italy is glorious, and the best way to enjoy it is at the many cafes serving it up. We would always take our coffee a banco, or at the bar standing, as taking it a tavalo, or at a table, increases the price tremendously (sometimes as much as threefold).
While in Assisi, we also toured St. Mary of the Angels church, a huge, imposing, structure at the base of the hill that leads to the old town of Assisi. It was here that St. Francis began his teachings and where his new monastic order--freshly legitimized by the Pope--first took hold. While there, a pleasant, likable, Franciscan Priest from Philadelphia named Linus (seen here with Doreen and Maureen) gave us a personal, guided, tour. It was great fun, and our aunts, in particular (remember, they're nuns), enjoyed it immensely.
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