A Visit to Assisi
I feel so blessed to say I have been able to visit Assisi twice. The first time was quick, wonderful and I was able to visit so many places where St. Francis experienced his life changes. This time it was slower and I had more time to think about St. Francis and St. Clare’s life in the town and how Assisi has changed, and yet still exudes much of the same special spiritual presence of these two charismatic saints.
When approaching Assisi the hill-town looks beautiful and is surrounded by a green valley.
We proceeded to the road leading up to Rocca Maggiore, for parking is expensive in Assisi and this road is free to park on and we would not be in anyone’s way. From there we took a short hike down through the trees to our apartment.
From this Fort, which was used extensively through the time of St. Francis, you can see much of the town and surrounding area.
This route provided many great views of Assisi and we enjoyed the ramble.
While wondering through to our apartment the first thing I noticed were buildings that had been newly renovated but still kept the older material when possible.
We found our apartment, got orientated and then wandered through town.
Assisi is a maze of streets, but one cannot get very lost for they all lead back to major areas of town, so we just explored.
There are many old buildings that have been repaired and so one sees the old and the new.
While wondering around there are many beautiful images to behold around many corners, that show how precious faith is here.
There were a few special places that I wanted to visit and take a few pictures, but even picture taking is restricted in some places because they would distract the prayer of others, so these are some of my favorite places.
St. Stephen is a very small and quiet place for meditation and prayerful visit. It would be typical of what small chapels would have been like in the time of St. Francis.
The Church of San Rufino is where St. Francis was baptized and the baptismal font is still present in the church. To the left of the church and where St. Clare lived with her family when they were in Assisi
The original San Damiano Cross is in this Basilica and in the basement are the remains of St. Clare and a space for meditation and prayer.
After St. Francis died, a cousin of Francis had this chapel built below Francis’s original home, being originally the stables. And of course there was the original house somewhat I’m sure updated.
Early one morning I decided to go to San Damiano, which is a little walk out of the town gates of Assisi. The morning was beautiful and I took a view pictures.
Just one of the many surprises to see when wondering through the woods.
San Damiano is where St. Francis was first inspired to serve the Lord and he was brought back here when very ill and was cared for by the sisters of St. Clare, until near his death.
I also wanted to visit the Basilica housing the remains of St. Francis and spend some quiet time there. It is a very busy place with many people and photos are not allowed so I took an outdoor photo and I hope others have an opportunity to see this place, ponder the life of St. Francis and appreciate the beautiful artwork that was done by Giotto to honor St. Francis inspirational life.
I took many pictures from my apartment because the view was so good and then my few days were over.
Leaving Assisi in the morning gave us a beautiful misty view of Mount Subio.
St. Francis was one to go to far away places to pray and contemplate. This was very important to him and one of the places he went to is a small island call Isola Maggiore on Lake Trasimeno. Francis asked Brother Leo to row him there and leave him for a few days. When we arrived there it was very windy and very dangerous for a small boat to be out on the lake, so I could image how difficult it might have been to reach the island and come back. Also, the island was uninhabited then and there are only about 35 people there today, so it is still pretty desolate. Hope you all find good and safe places to do your contemplating.
Before leaving the area, we visited our Lady of Angels outside of Assisi where St. Francis was given some land by the Benedictines of Monte Subasio, for his small group of Brothers to live. It is now surrounded by a beautiful church, but one can still see the solid little church where St. Francis and his small group of friars found their focus.
I also said prayers, while the church was quiet and peaceful, in the original chapel.
I will always cherish the precious time spent in this area of Italy and will always remember it’s beauty and inspiring nature.
Wishing you all inspiring moments that add to your life and to that of others.
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