Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Our next journey took us into Tuscany across the Apennine Mountains to our destination of Assisi. Assisi is the birthplace of St. Francis, who started the order of the Franciscan Friars in the 1200s, and who is the patron saint of animals. Our first stop was a shrine called, St. Mary of The Angels. Seen above, this shrine was actually built around (to protect) the first chapel built by St. Francis. When you go inside this shrine, you can actually walk right through the little chapel.
Next stop was the Basilica of St. Francis--actually three connected churches. One is a Monastery for the Friars. The Lower Basilica has numerous small chapels honoring various saints & events in Catholic religious history, & the beautiful frescos survive to this day. Downstairs in this Basilica you can visit the burial place of St. Francis. The upper Basilica was full of beautiful stained glass windows and again many frescos depicting the life of St. Francis. The Feast of St. Francis is October 4.
The walk up to these Basilicas was very steep, as was the whole town, and very narrow with sharp switchbacks; the roads were cobblestone.
We continued our walk to the Basilica of St. Clare. St. Clare was one of the first followers of St. Francis and started the Order of The Poor Clares. You can also see the burial place of St. Clare. St. Clare's feast day is October 3.
I really enjoyed this short visit to Assisi. It was the Italy I remembered as a teenager without all the crowds and commercialism.
Next: Naples & Fun on the Isle of Capri!