April 7:  Buon giorno from Assisi

I love Assisi. The setting is unreal. The old town is very compact and clinging to the side of a hill. All the roofs are tan tiles. The valley below is a very green patchwork quilt and looks more like a painting than a real place. It actually feels like a pilgrimage site, quiet, holy, lots of birds.

Santa Maria degli Angeli in the newer part of town is built around 2 ancient chapels. Porziuncola Chapel is in its entirety in the center of the church. It’s the chapel the Pope gave Francis to start his Franciscan Order. It was amazing. The other chapel is the site where he died. Lots of Franciscans and Poor Clares in the town.

In the old walled town, the Basilica of St. Clare held the crucifix that spoke to Francis and led to his conversion. There were lots of relics, including the shoes Francis wore when he received the stigmata.

The Basilica of St. Francis was awesome. The lower basilica was built first, and is literally a whole church under the upper church. The lower one had all the great fresco painters’ works lining the walls and ceiling. Cimabue’s “St. Francis with stigmata” was really great to see in person.

The upper basilica was a Giotto-fest. Frescoes of the life of St. Francis. “Francis Preaching to the Birds” was neat.

Do you know he was only 5’4” tall?

That’s it for now, Pat