Day 8: Moricone We had all decided that today would be a day to relax and not do much of anything. We all slept in until 10-11am! Around noon time, John and I headed down to the local grocery store to pick up some things for lunch, only to find that it was closed on Sundays. (Is it Sunday already?) After hiking back up the hill, we checked with Stefania and found out there was another grocery store in the neighboring town. John and I took off to find it. We must have arrived just a couple of minutes before 1pm – and they close for lunch from 1pm to 4pm. The staff was nice, and let us make a mad dash around the store getting lunch meats, cheeses, bread, chips, drinks and fruit. It was like being in a “minute to win it” shopping spree! Somehow we managed to get everything we needed between the two of us! The afternoon just flew by – I took a very short nap after lunch and John took a longer one in the afternoon before going for a jog. Aunt Sondra and I worked on our journals, and Randy worked on his crossword puzzles. Later that evening, we went back to the restaurant with Stefania, who gave us some really good suggestions on what to have to eat. A short walk up the hill, and we were shortly home and back to bed!
Day 9: Assisi We started out early this morning on the road to Assisi. John is getting much more comfortable on the windy, windy roads through these small towns! After getting some very good advice from our friend Stefania, we parked up at the top of the town at the Piazza Matteotti. Our first little walk to Piazza Rufino and the Cattedrale di Saint Rufino gave us the first taste of how steep the roads in the town are. This church is the Duomo of Assisi. The Cattedrale was built on a Roman religious site around 1029. The church was consecrated in 1253 when construction was completed. Inside the Cattedrale is the old baptismal font where both St Francis and St Clare were baptized. There were some majestic views of the country outside the city from the church. We headed down some more very steep streets again to The Basilica de Saint Chiara. This beautiful red and white stone cathedral was build in 1257 and consecrated eight years later. The body of St Clare, founder of the order of the Poor Clares, was buried here in 1260. Inside the church, in the Oratorio delle Reliquie, there is the late 12th century wooden Crucifix of San Damiano. According to the hagiography, this is the crucifix that famously spoke to Francis in San Damiano calling Francis to rebuild the church. We found a small restaurant across the Piazza St Chiara in the Piccola Umbria Italian Restaurant to have lunch. From there, we walked down the Corso Mazzini and poked our heads into several of the shops. At the end of the street, just before entering the Piazza del Comune, we saw the Chiesa Nuova, which was commissioned by Philip III of Spain to mark the spot where St Francis was said to have been born. I would have loved to have gone inside, but it was closed from mid October through November for restoration. We stopped at the Piazza Del Comune to watch the tourists. In that area, we looked into the Chiesa de Santa Maria sopra Minerva Tempio de Minerva. This building is the main focus of the piazza, built in the first century BC on a set of terraces that once marked the center of town. This beautifully preserved Roman temple changed functions of the years; first it was a church, then a group of shops, then seat of the town hall until, in 1456, it finally became a church again. The fountain in the Piazza Del Comune is an 18th century fountain built on the foundations of a 13th century water basin. Leaving the Piazza del Comune, we walked down the Via Portica and Via A. Fortini, then through an archway onto the Via San Francesco. Along this street is the Oratorio dei Pellegrini, a small chapel built where Francis is said to have been born. As we continued down the street, we rounded a gentle curve and in front of us was the Basilica di Saint Francesco. Eighteen months after St Francis died (4 October 1226), the Vicar-General of the Franciscan Order was charged by the Pop to build a church dedicated to the saint. The Lower Church was the first part to be built, with the Upper church eventually being built on top of it. The basilica was consecrated in 1253, even though final construction was not completed until 1367. When you walk through the Upper Church and lower church, you cannot help but feel that this is a place of intense spirituality – the spirit of St Francis can be felt everywhere. After visiting this most amazing town, we headed back to Casa Petra, again enjoying the fresh sandwiches found at the roadside “Autogrilles”. Again, after dinner, and catching up on the journaling, I found myself drawn to the back porch to see the moon shining over the valley. I just cannot get enough of the view!
- Day 7: Spoleto
- Frantoio Gaudenzi Oil Mill and Cascata delle Marmore