Assisi, Italy

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

After a pleasnt morning in Siena we made our way to another hilltop town: Assisi! Assisi is famous for its hometown boy, St. Francis, and mementos of his days here are everywhere. 
What we loved about Assisi was how charming and well kept and clean it was. The homes were old, but they were so lovingly cared for. You could tell they had stayed true to the ancient feel, but updated windows and doors and decked their places out with flowers. This was, hands down, the place we would like to return to of all our stops.
We parked and started following a Rick Steves self-guided walk starting at the top of town and working our way down the hill to the Basilica. We passed by a small fountain decorated with coats of arms of Assisi's leading families. 
The old Roman amphitheater. The Roman stones have been absorbed into the medieval architecture of the town. Homes are built all around and in the old amphitheater. 
Flowers galore. 
A commanding view of the Umbrian countryside. Umbria is called the "green heart of Italy" and is the country's geographical center. It's also the only landlocked region of Italy. 
Fortress on the hill. 
The Cathedral of San Rufino. St. Francis isn't actually the patron saint of Assisi, Rufino is. He was the town's first bishop and was martyred and buried here. The church is 11th century Romanesque and is one of the best examples of the style in Umbria. 
Darling Jane outside the church. 
Fox atop one of the lions flanking the doors.

Looking back to the Rocca Maggiore, the larger of the towns two fortifications, up on the hill. 
How can you not love Assisi?!
Fl🌸wers Fl🌼wers Fl🌹wers!

My squad rolling deep in Assisi.
We arrived at the Basilica di Santa Chiara. Check out these flying buttresses!
This simple Gothic church is dedicated to the founder of the Order of Poor Clares and was built in 1265. The facade features Assisi's characteristic pink limestone from the local quarry. 
Italy is so pretty!
Overlooking Assisi.
In the square in front of the basilica was a little carousel. We let the kids ride while I got a Nutella crepe, don't mind if I do!
After our little break we kept heading through the town. This gate over the road dates from 1265 and is one of three medieval town gates still standing. 
Cute cafe. Crappy 8 euros per plate MICROWAVED pasta. But still cute.
Via Santa Chiara is lined with interesting shops selling traditional embroidery, religious souvenirs, and local edibles. 
The Piazza del Comune. 
On the piazza is the Temple of Minerva. This first-century B.C. Roman temple was the center piece of ancient Assisi. The temple has since been converted to a church with a 17th century Baroque interior. 

Grateful for the shade.

Eventually, we made it to the top sight in Assisi: the Basilica of St. Francis. The church is one of the artistic and religious highlights in Europe. It was built on the site where, in 1226, St. Francis was buried. The basilica is frescoed head to toe, top to bottom, and side to side with scenes from the leading artists of the day: Giotto, Cimabue, Simone Martini, and Pietro Lorenzetti. Unfortunately, photos weren't allowed inside. 
The courtyard of the basilica. 
After touring the church we started the long, steep hike back up hill to where we parked.

It was hot, we were exhausted, the kids were tired, so as soon as Chris saw a taxi he flagged it down. His take, "Best 10 euros I've ever spent." I concur.
Our family in Assisi on Friday May 27th 2016.

The next recap will be all about the workshop I taught at Sant'Agata Feltria Sagra Del Tartufo!

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