Assisi-August 7: A Spritual Day
Today we took a side trip to Assisi. It should have only taken an hour, but the signage isn't very complete in some areas. They point in all directions which can lead down narrow paths, around in circles, and even into someone's driveway.
From a distance, the view of Assisi is spectacular. We found a parking lot in town which has two sets of escalators rising up to the old part of town. There were groups of students making a pilgrimage and they happily carried colorful flags down the street to the basilica. We noticed their pilgrimage was from Madrid to Rome.
First we visited the lower basilica where we saw frescoes by Giotto and the tomb of St. Francis. People make symbolic offerings to St. Francis of a single white candle and many kneel in prayer.
In the upper main basilica there was a festive mass with singing and clapping in Spanish. Inside, although the words "silenzio" were said on the loud speaker, people were in a joyful mood. We saw some evidence near the altar where the plaster from the floor to ceiling frescoes had fallen during the earthquakes of 1997, but other than that the church is in remarkable condition. It's hard to believe much of the basilica dates back to the 1200's. Outside the church, the Spanish students sang and danced.
Dinner was in a small restaurant in Montepulciano. We had homemade pasta and local wine. We also talked with a couple from Budapest who were very friendly and offered us a cigar because we were tolerant of their smoking outside even though we don't smoke. We always enjoy meeting new people on our trips from all over the world.
"The Tomb of St. Francis"
Kneeling at the tomb
Praying their innermost thoughts
He speaks to their soul.