Assisi is a medieval fortress town in the middle of Umbria. It is famous for its’ multiple churches (7 in fact) and affinity with Saint Francis, who the new pope is named after. Besides it’s religious affliations, Assisi has a castle (Rocca Maggiore), which sits looming over the town at the top of the hill. You can see the town for many miles and it is a beautiful site to see.
Disembarking from the train, you are instantly struck with the sheer magnitude of the town and it’s white walls gleaming even in the gloom of a wet day. The train station, like many in Umbria, is a four kilometre hike from the town. Luckily, there is a bus (line C) that runs every half an hour ferrying tourists and locals alike up the hill. You have to buy your ticket from the little Tabacchi inside the station and then validate it on board. You will be fined around 30 – 100Euro without a valid ticket.
Hmmm, validating a ticket on a bus packed with 100+ people and one validation machine near the front, impossible you may think? Luckily, it’s not a big hassle; no-one wants to get a fine so everyone works together to pass the tickets to the front and validate them. It is about a fifteen minute ride up the hill, where you are dropped off at the bottom of entrance to the hilltop town.
A five minute walk up the cobbled streets will bring you to the Basilica of Saint Francis. It is a stunning example of marble beauty, the white marble contrasted beautifully with the charcoal grey sky. The church is three levels, the bottom of which contains the tomb of Saint Francis, many Catholics make a special trip to Assisi merely to visit this tomb.As mentioned previously, Assisi contains around seven churches. As you wind your way up through the town, you stumble upon piazza after piazza with a church as it’s central focus. Other than that there are a selection of lovely little boutique eateries, shops and delicatessens.
My shoes clicked along the cobblestones of the streets of Assisi following the winding streets up to the castle at the top of the hill. The wind was blowing a gale and dark clouds were threatening a massive thunder storm. As I climbed up the narrow brick steps, I moved twice as fast just to keep myself warm. Despite the cold, the view was incredible.I would have like more time to explore, unfortunately the atrociously cold weather made this an impossibility. I headed back to Perugia, only to find that it was in fact only six degrees, go figure.
We are off to Naples tomorrow for some sun.
Ginga Musings complete.
- Assisi by night (visionofitaly.wordpress.com)
- Perugia; Towers, Thunder and Terrific tables of Food (gingamusings.com)