First stop was San Damiano an important site for St Francis . The church was built between8- 9century and st Francis predicted it would be the dwelling place of Clare who followed his ways and her followers who were called the Poor Clares. It was a simple and peaceful site and the cloisters lovely with many potted cyclamen. There was a bronze sculpture of st Francis looking out over the plain.
Spoleto- it took about 40 minutes there. The fun started when we tried to find the parcheggio we thought would be closer to the castle where we wanted to go. Works my with google we ended up in a couple of   Tights streets. We did find a parking no area but had no idea whether we were close and the role we spoke to had no English at all.
But we persevered and eventually caught sight of Information sign near town. Again it was impressive as there were lifts up to the piazza libertarian. We headed up to the castle and again took lifts to the top. The castle was great with beautiful views over the town. The large castle was a museum with restored frescoes and part thereof. It showed how they would have lived – there was an aqueduct behind .
Heading down from the castle we had a crostini and panini lunch with water and wine looking down on the beautiful cathedral which had a huge square space in front of it. The whole town was pretty empty of tourists which was great.
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Half way back down we came across the amazing underground moving footway which takes you up and down through the town.
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Last stop was the Roman theatre which was very well preserved really – the museum had some very old archaeological remains such as pots and jewellery..
Headed back to Assisi and drive to Erwin Della Carceri which was a place of sanctuary for St Francis – it is in a bush setting above and behind Assisi. Just a brief stop as we wanted to practice getting into Assisi as we wanted to be able drive in to get our luggage. Success!
Dinner was excellent in a beautiful setting – on a terrace overlooked big the plain . It was mild with no wind and very pretty with the glittering lights below. Menu – wild boar stew for Peter and pasta with artichokes and lamb for me. We shared a chocolate and almond dessert. On leaving ended up chatting to the single American woman who was on the table next to us / Californian in Italy doing a language course.


Another beautiful day of sunny weather- we planned ahead where to go and we had an easy 40 minute drive to Perugia- found the the car park at the foot of the hill where the historic center of the city is. From the car park we caught the driverless mini metro up the hill to historic center . There are seven stops and it takes 20 minutes. They continually cycle around and there is no waiting. The locals use it too. A very impressive and efficient system. At the top there are a series of escalators that take you further.
It is a stylish city and quite compact with a main walkway to the key sites
The main piazza – Piazza del Priori where there is a substantial medieval fountain -Fontana Maggiore – with the signs of the zodiac. The duomo is impressive as they all are – this time with more stained glass.
The Etruscan arch was with a visit, towering over us with 2 trapezoidal towers and Augustan inscription over the entrance.
We walked back to the other end for some views down and then had a typical lunch of salad and brushetta fighting the pesky pigeons!!
Headed off a bit after 2pm to Bevagna one of the local recommended towns. It was very sleepy ! Walked around / things were chiuso but had a nice cup of tea. Don’t think we made it to the main town centre.
We went back to Assisi to try to practice getting into the town. Again Google took us the same way so we left it and headed back.
Dinner was at Il vicilo- nice presentation and they tried but food was very average despite it being 2 on Trip advisor.

Assisi Day 2


We walked up the hill to the Roca Maggiore and the castle which commands 360 degree views of the surrounding countryside- dating from 1200s. Quite an impressive castle to explore with some rooms with models of of people appropriately dressed from the period and weaponry. Some excellent large photos of reenactments of the past. We climbed the many spiral stairs to the to for panoramic views.

Walked down gorgeous via sante Croce to the Basilica of San Francis. The streets are beautiful, clean, flowering pots on the windows – totally picture postcard
The Basilica is huge and commanding site- there is a lower level with 2 wings of chapels and then you descend into the tomb of St Francis. Again mAny tourists- a lot wanted to touch the tomb of st Francis- there are lots of religious tourists. Then there is the superior Basilica above with frescoes of st Francis’ life by Giotto. Army presence there as was the case at the piazza del Campo in Siena.
Strolled to main square for lunchat oneof the many places. Place is very busy.
Visited The Cathedral is large and simpler than the other in Romanesque style. Then onto the archaeological museum which gave a good insight into what the area would have been like in Roman times- i.e. The temple of Minerva . Walked over old Roman pavement and saw headstones and inscriptions – interesting.
Huge antipasto platter with all sorts of things on it followed by siciliana pizza – anchovies and black olives

Assisi Day 1

Managed to get back to the car and leave Siena easily. Trip to Assisi on main road was easy too as there wasn’t much traffic.
More fun when we tried to get into our accommodation. This time using google map we were taking into the old town – very narrow in parts. In La Casina Colorata we have a spacious family  sized room and lovely sitting area and breakfast room.
Assisi is just gorgeous – pretty on top of a hill. Fabulous 3rd century and the Temple of Minerva which became a Christian church in the 1300.
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Assisi is synonymous with St Francis- it has a huge religious significance for many and it is obviously a place of pilgrimage. There are 100s of tourists and many tour groups. All the many tourist shops are selling mainly religious items of all sorts.
The people on the tour group are mostly religious we think wearing crosses- many Americans, Germans and a big group of Indians . There are quite a few monks and nuns around and of different nationalities.
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Church of San Chiara- very interesting – compose of 2 main chapels and the crypt of San Chiara and the reliquaries of St Francis and others. The tourists were religious and clearly in silence meditation.
St Francis reliquaries included his simple robe. Also stories of st Clare who was a noblewoman who followed st Francis much to the opposition of her family
Saint Francis of Assisi was a Catholic friar who gave up a life of wealth to live a life of poverty. He established the Franciscan Order of friars and the women’s Order of the Poor Ladies. Francis was born in Assisi, Italy in 1182. He grew up leading a privileged life as the son of a wealthy cloth merchant.
The Italian mystic St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) founded the religious order known as the Franciscans. He became renowned for his love, simplicity, and practice of poverty.
Francis’ devotion to God was expressed through his love for all of God’s creation. St. Francis cared for the poor and sick, he preached sermons to animals, and praised all creatures as brothers and sisters under God. St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals and ecology, was born in Italy around 1181 or 1182.
1224, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, as a result of which he received the stigmata. Brother Leo, who had been with Francis at the time, left a clear and simple account of the event, the first definite account of the phenomenon of stigmata. “Suddenly he saw a vision of a seraph, a six-winged angel on a cross. This angel gave him the gift of the five wounds of Christ.”[36] Suffering from these stigmata and from trachoma, Francis received care in several cities (Siena, Cortona, Nocera)