Fri., June 9th

Today was a day without entering the mass transit population, so it definitely started out good.   We left this morning at 7:30 and took a chartered bus to Assisi.  It took about 2 hours to get there.  It is amazing how the landscape changes as you leave Rome.  The hills become rolling  fields covered with hay bales and few houses.  It gradually changes over to larger hills that outline the whole view.  When I got the first view of Assisi, I was at ground level looking up at the city perched on top of the hill.  We had to weave through streets to get up to the town.  One of the first things you see is the Basilica of St. Francis perched on the edge of the hill overlooking the valley below.  I think Assisi is one of my favorite places to go because of the medieval feeling of the city, the beautiful churches that appear all throughout the town and the overall peaceful atmosphere of the town.  

We were able to visit the Basilica of St. Francis, but you were not allowed to take pictures on the inside, so, unfortunately, I only have ones from the outside.  See the AP Studio Art tab for those pictures and more from the town.  Inside the Basilica there are beautiful frescoes painted by Giotto.  Every inch of the church was painted in colors and patterns. It was very different from the churches we have been seeing in Rome- far less gold and marble.  There is an Upper Basilica, a Lower Basilica (where they were having a mass in one of the side chapels) and the lower crypt where I was able to see the stone sarcophagus with St. Francis' remains.  I was also able to visit the Basilica of St. Clare which is located on the other end of Assisi.  I was able to go into the crypt below the basilica to see St. Clare's remains as well as the Byzantine cross before which St. Francis was praying when he heard from God in 1205 which is buried alongside St. Clare.

Other than the 2 churches, we were on our own today and were able to explore the winding streets and alleyways of Assisi.  It was amazing that if you turned a corner, you would step into a beautiful courtyard or a panoramic view of the entire valley.  You never knew what you were going to encounter around the next turn.  It is a beautiful place to explore.

So, I really haven't mentioned much about the food so far (that is not to say that I haven't had some pretty great food and great gelato), but I really need to tell you that we stumbled upon a truly great restaurant today where we had lunch.  The name of the restaurant is Il Frantonio Ristorante.  It had one of the most amazing views of the valley below Assisi.  We were lucky enough to get a table right by the large windows that opened up to a small balcony.  Please see the view in the AP Studio Art tab.  The area is know for a number of things, two of those being truffles and wild mushrooms. I ordered hand made pasta with wild mushrooms.  The pasta was close to a fettuccine thickness.  It was delicious!  I got to have it with an Assisi made white wine with olives, sun dried tomatoes and bread.   I had a lovely afternoon.  It was a very nice change from our fast pace of seeing galleries and churches all week.

This is one of those days where I feel incredibly blessed that I have this opportunity.  I hope you all have as lovely an evening as I have had today!  Ciao!   

Mileage by Andrea: 5.97 miles