Friday, December 26, 2008

Soul Searching in Assisi

Our visit to the lovely hill town of Assisi in the Region of Umbria, Italy is one experience I shall never, ever forget. I've always wanted to explore medieval towns. The place surely did not disappoint. They managed to maintain their narrow alleys, massive gates, stone buildings, and other details I found so interesting. The trip was not only a treat to the senses, but to the soul as well. The place was tranquil, sacred, and peaceful. I felt so much at home.

One day is not enough to truly experience the mystery and magic of the place. Spend a night, if your schedule would permit. It would be fun to explore every nook and cranny of this medieval town. Climb the Rocca Maggiore (fort atop Assisi). The outlying areas are splendid too. A trip to the Hermitage (old monastery) and Mt Subasio would be a wonderful experience. 

If you can't check out all the churches, just visit the Basilicas of St Francis, St Clare, and Santa Maria degli Angeli. The latter houses the Porziuncola, a small chapel considered as the cradle of the Franciscan movement. Also within its compound is the (Thornless) Rose Garden.

Don't forget to buy a guide book with lots of photos in it. Taking of pictures is prohibited in most, if not all, of the churches. You wouldn't want to trust your memory with all those lovely details, especially the frescoes done by Cimabue and Giotto.

How to reach Assisi:

From the Roma Termini, there's a train bound to Perugia. One of the stops is Assisi. Travel time is two hours and a few minutes. (There's a faster and costlier train, but it arrives in the afternoon.) From the train station, you'll have to ride a bus to reach the lovely hill town.

Side trip: 

If you're a chocoholic like me, why not venture to Perugia? It's just a train ride away. You can visit the chocolate factory and eat world-famous baci chocolates to your heart's content. 

From the Perugia Railway Station, take the bus no.E45 to San Sisto direction. The Perugina chocolate factory and school is located in the Via Pievaiola, 06143 San Sisto, Perugia. Don’t forget to make a reservation before a visit, contact number is +39075-52761. You may join an organized group tour too. 

Assisi Snapshots

Santa Maria degli Angeli

Santa Maria degli Angeli

Santa Maria degli Angeli

Via Francesco

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