Friday, May 26, 2017

More beauty per minute than is safe ... Assisi

Do you want to take an afternoon off and go on a road trip to Assisi? Alfeo will drive.
Alfeo is the owner of the Residence Le Santucce. He is an engineer by trade and he is responsible for restoring this beautiful old monastery to its current condition. Thank you Alfeo!
Norma is Cary's wife. They run these workshops as a team. Cary is the workshop leader, the writer, Norma does everything else. We count on her to translate our desires into reality, and our English into Italian. Here are Alfeo and Norma collaborating:

After our writing session in the morning we all pile in his van and take a day trip to Assisi. I am still in disbelief about the ancient wonder that is our "home" medieval town of Castiglion Fiorentino. I am about to learn that there are many such towns in Tuscany.
I'm shaking my head as I think about how to describe this ... it's just so unbelievable. We left after our morning session of writing, and before we returned to the residence at near midnight, we had:
  • Seen a beautiful lake - Tasimeno - with a boat taking tourists to islands in the middle of the lake and restaurants, playgrounds, and shops along the shore
  • Visited the church of Santa Maria Degli Angeli This is a large church housing a small church. The small church is where St. Francis di Assisi lived and died
  • Visited Assisi - the ancient, holy, town on a hill where St. Francis is from
  • Went inside the Basilica di St. Francis in Assisi where he is entombed and where there are medieval painted frescoes by Giotto depicting the life of Christ and St. Francis
  • Visited Cortona - the town on a hill made famous by the novel Under the Tuscan Sun
  • Visited a Monastery called Le Cella built into the side of a hill, surrounded by gardens and pine forests
  • Visited the Church of Santa Margarita
  • Had dinner Italian family style, at Restaurant Nessun Dormo in Cortona

Lake Trasimeno
Cary Tennis watching a trail of thoughts scurry by on the shores of Lake Trasimeno

Basilica Santa Maria degli Angeli PG. In the valley below Assisi. This is where St. Francis died. Inside the Basilica is the tiny church of St. Francis. The one he restored, over extreme objection from his wealthy father, after a mystic vision where he saw Jesus telling him to "restore his home." You are not allowed to take photos inside, but you can see a picture and read more here. This is the most sacred place of the Franciscan Orders. I loved the tiny church.

Then came Assisi

There's a lot of sights crammed into this tiny town, and every one of them could be a framed work of art.

Every which way you looked you were served up an exquisite, frameable, work of art. And that doesn't even count the "real" art. The world renowned frescos by Giotto. We saw them but could not take photos. See the website Basilica Papale di San Francesco d'Assisi for more.

Entrance to Basilica di San Francesco d'Assisi
Before we leave Assisi, I want to show you a picture from the parking lot because it was remarkable how many RVs we saw.
We did see RVs quite a lot. The closest one is a Hymer - just now coming to the US

But wait! There's more ...

After Assisi, we piled back in the van and Alfeo drove us to Cortona, the town made famous by Frances May in Under the Tuscan Sun.
First stop in Cortona, Basilica Santa Margarita at the top of the hill. Lucky I caught a photo of Margaret in her namesake!
Next mind-blowing sight: Le Celle monastery, just outside of Cortona.
Our group L-R: Norma, Cary, Kelly, Jessica, Joanie, Alfeo, Margaret, John, Chris, Jim

By the time we got to the town of Cortona, I really thought my mind would would explode with all the beauty that had been crammed into it that day. And, Cortona is a jewel. 
Here is the view to the north from where we parked the van in Cortona 
And, here is the view to the south

Also to the south ... Lake Trasimeno?
A side street in Cortona
We ended the day with another delicious Italian meal at the Cortona restaurant Nessun Dorma. All I am capable of saying is "Wow."

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