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Day trip to Assisi

Hill towns are our life


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With phone in hand for navigation, we headed off to Assisi for another day trip. Assisi, another walled hill town, is the home of Saint Francis of Assisi, who took a vow of humility and poverty. Francis believed that nature was an expression of God and all animals were our brothers and sisters. He even preached to the birds. The Franciscan Order arose from his followers. One of his followers, Clare of Assisi, became a leader in her own right and founded Order of Poor Ladies and wrote her Rules for Life, the first known for a woman.

As we approached Assisi, storm clouds were on the horizon, and we snaked our way up the side of the hill towards our goal, parking. After parking, we had a good climb up steps to the street and a walk through the brick gate into another hill town of narrow streets, shops, cafes, and churches.

The Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi was across town, about a mile. We walked fast, trying to beat the rain. The Basilica was on the edge of the hill town. A large grassy area in front of the Basilica had shrubby spelling out PAX. In the corner of the grassy area stood a bronze statue of Francis in armor on a horse. Francis was slumped over, probably signifying how his experience as a soldier turned his life to peace.
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The Basilica was closed for mass since it was Sunday but would open back up at 1:00. We walked up the street for lunch.

After lunch, we entered the Basilica and followed the path down into his tomb in a vaulted crypt. People were in the row of benches praying. Others went forward to light candles. We were able to circle the stone tomb then out to the upper level of the Basilica with its fantastic frescos, which were big, bold, and full of life. I was stuck with the ornamentation commemorating a very humble man.

It began to rain as we left the Basilica, so we took shelter at the Basilica of Saint Clare, built about 1200. It was a simple, early gothic building with plain walls and a few preserved frescos. Over the years, much of the preservation money went to Saint Francis and not Clare.
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The rain finally broke, and we walked back towards our car. Along the way, we passed a street performer standing on a box, motionless as if a statue of Saint Francis. I dropped some coins in the collection box. Saint Francis handed me a note in three languages, “I ‘ll always look for what unites rather than that which divides.”
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We drove home but decided to stop at a lake. Without knowing what we would find, we left the motorway. We threaded through an industrial area, followed the lake until we found a lakeside park with a carousel, benches, etc., and cafes across the street. We had a gelato and then were back on the road.
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In Montepulciano, we searched for supper and finally found a small place, Le Rime, on a sloping street with tables outside. Tables here are either blocked up on one end or have extendable legs to deal with the inclines. We started with a wine tasting, bought the best he offered, and after massive antipasti, ordered lasagna. That was a good supper. The lasagna was the best I have ever eaten, light and delicate.
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A good day.

Posted by Deuxenvacances 20:22 Archived in Italy Tagged italy assisi

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