Monday, September 27, 2010


My parents came to visit last weekend, and since they've been to Florence several times now, we decided to go out and see something new. We decided on Assisi and surroundings, so Saturday morning we drove down from Florence, hoping that the weather would stay nice (it did for the most part). Assisi is, of course, the home of St. Francis of Assisi, where he preached, and is now the goal of many pilgrims.
The city itself is much like many other hill towns in Umbria and Tuscany: steep streets, bare stone houses, many churches. The highlight here is the Basilica of St. Francis, where the saint's remains are stored. Consisting of an upper and a lower church, both decorated with some fantastic frescoes by Cimabue and Giotto, among others, it really is a sight to see. We then went to see some of the other churches in town, among them the Romanesque Basilica of St. Clare (with her remains) and the Duomo di San Rufino. The town is nice enough, but I do wonder what St. Francis would have to say about the crass commercialization.
In the late afternoon it started to rain, and since we still had plenty of time before dinner, we drove down the hill to the Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli, which was built around the Porziuncola chapel, where the Franciscan movement started. I liked the small chapel, but like with the sights in town, I'm guessing they have much more significance to true believers.
After a mediocre dinner in town (note to self: make reservations for the recommended places), we walked up to the Rocca, from which we had a great view onto the monuments of the city, lit up in the night.

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