Umbria: land of quiet spaces and silence / pag.2
We can now move on to Assisi.
While we are still in the plain, we will be caught
between two fires: the cupola of Santa Maria degli Angeli to
our rear and the basilica of Saint Francis above us at the
edge of the hill on which the town has settled. Before we pass
its walls, a brief detour will take us to the monastery of the
Saint Damian, where the cloisters preserve
the memory of the crucifix that spoke to Saint Francis in
And we are not surprised to learn that the saint
dictated the Song of the Creatures among these olive trees. We
can enter Assisi leaving our car in one of the many convenient
parking lots immediately under the city, taking the escalator
for the last part of the way up.
But we prefer to "go
up" to the one in Matteotti square. From there, we can reach
the Rocca Maggiore quickly, where we will have a view of the
whole town. Another short walk takes us to the polygonal
tower, now we find the basilica of St. Francis at our feet.
We can begin our descent. The basilica
is at the other end of this marvelous town and to
reach it we pass some real art treasures. San Rufino, the
cathedral, where Saint Francis was baptized, the basilica of
Saint Chiara, where Saint Damian's crucifix
is today, and even the Santa Maria sopra Minerva, with the
ladder and six Roman columns.
The basilica appears at
the end the road, and we will not stand here recommending that
you do not miss a single detail of the upper part and even
more of the very original lower part.
Leaving it at dusk,
after one last glance at the plain (and at the cupola of Santa
Maria degli Angeli), we will pass through the lower square of
Saint Francis and begin our trip back.
To provide an
appropriate conclusion to the day, we could eat in a
suggestive town like Spello, which is not too
far off. It may be worth a final effort to go back to Assisi
and look at the basilica at night.