Monday, June 04, 2007

Day 5: Assisi

We were a little late leaving the apartment to catch our shuttle bus that morning, but like everything else in Italy, the bus was late. By like half an hour. So we had plenty of time to catch our breath before it showed up.

Once again, the bus ride was wonderful. I loved sitting and watching the countryside go by. No way would I sleep on a bus during that. I'd be missing everything.

Our first stop was actually a town called Orvieto, in the region of Umbria. We had to take a cable car up to the top of this hill where the town was. (How did people get up there before cable cars??) :) In the piazza where our bus dropped us off was, of course, an enormous church, Catedral y Capilla de San Brizio.

This church is one of 3 important Gothic-style cathedrals in all of Italy, our tour guide explained, because in this church a cloth on which a Eucharistic host was seen by a priest to miraculously bleed on is enshrined. You can read the story here.

We didn't have much time to explore the town. We were dropped off, given an hour to explore the area, and then we were rushed back onto the cable car and back on the bus.

The bus ride through Umbria from Orvieto to Assisi had some of the most sweeping, majestic, stunning views I'd ever seen from the road. Our bus winded around hillsides with valleys that gaped beneath us and hilltops that towered over us, covered with lush trees and some rocky cliffs. We passed a huge dam at the end of a man-made, yet still beautiful lake. I could not even attempt to take photos of most of this, as it would not have been done justice, but I did grab a snapshot or two as we drove past some vineyards on the shores of the lake.

Seriously, given Tuscany or Umbria, I'd take Umbria, from what we saw of both.

Before we arrived in the town of Assisi, we stopped in a ceramics factory (read: tourist trap) because this area is apparently famous for ceramics. I bought myself a goblet to take home and add to my collection.

We finally arrived in Assisi, and I know it's gonna take me forever to decide which pictures I want to show you all here, because the whole town was picturesque, and every time we turned another corner or looked down another street we wanted to take another shot. Beautiful little town. I'm not gonna skimp on pictures here...

A view of Umbria from an Assisi rooftop

One of the many archways

Other views around town:

This is the Basilica of St. Clare. The saint's incorrupt body is exhibitied inside, but they put a plaster mask over her face.

I believe this is Rocca Maggiore, a fortress on the outer wall of Assisi. Yay for castles. :)

Some little decorative birds in front of the Palazzo del Capitano dei Popolo, in the Piazza del Comune, where we stopped for a little shopping/gelato break.

This Pantheon-ish temple is the Tempio di Minerva, which is another pagan temple-turned-Catholic church.

Here is the inside of the Temple. Gorgeous.

More views on the way to the Basilica of St. Francis:

(no we didn't have to climb these stairs... just a sidestreet) :)

And finally, the Basilica of St. Francis:

St. Francis himself is entombed inside the church. Very holy place.

Our tour bus was parked close to St. Francis, so we got back on the bus and headed off shortly after. I grabbed a few pics from the bus:

(can't help taking a shot of a little piece of home in Assisi) :)

(I think this is a view of Assisi as we were leaving it, but I'm not sure)

We finally arrived back in Rome and drove around the city a bit dropping people off at various stops. I grabbed a few city shots:

A Metro stop

The fountain in the Piazza della Repubblica

Haphazard traffic in the Piazza della Repubblica

Our stop at last, in front of the Hotel Columbus.

We walked home from there, through St. Peter's Square again (eh, we had enough nighttime shots of it, now we could just stroll through like old regulars) and back down the Via Porta Cavalleggeri. We stopped to pick up some sandwiches to take home and I took this pic of a cute trashcan in front of a gelateria as we waited:

Once home, we ate our sandwiches and I stayed up to write in my journal. Snapped a few photos around the apartment when I took breaks to rest my hand:

Our living room

Living room/foyer

A view of the kitchen past the roses that we brought home Monday night in a wine bottle vase.

Next: Another day exploring the Eternal City.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home