Wedneslday, September 21, 2022
The time has arrived for us to break bread together one last time and then to say our “goodbyes”. It’s always such a mixed bag of emotions, the chance for some alone time, yet the heartbreak of seeing comrades go their separate ways, hopefully to meet again someday, yet not knowing.
The town is so full of tourists, and now without my backpack to separate me, I feel as though I have become one of them. When we took our tour yesterday with Giussepi, I didn’t think much of the fact that I was in a group of twelve, bedecked with headphones, following our leader. After all, that is what I have been doing for the last couple of weeks (sans ear wear). Tuning into the crowds around me, I am seeing countless groups of similar folk, sometime in pods of thirty plus! Is it because The Pope will be in town on Saturday?
And in spite of the fact that the roads are very narrow and twisted, there is considerable motorist traffic and far too many of the throngs of pedestrians just basically ignore it and half the time don’t even move out of the way! It’s a shock to my system after walking in the forest and mountains, seeing very few people outside of our group – even in most of the smaller towns. Crazy and kind of intimidating!
I checked into my new hotel just down the street, and it is so beautiful! Portica 10 is in a historical building with exposed stone walls in my room and stones archways, too! Yet with air conditioning and other modern conveniences. The proprietors, Carmine and Lia, are extremely service conscious and very kind. I was even able to check in at 10:30 aM! All of the floors have beautiful furniture, art and books and there is a rooftop common area that looks over the city with comfortable lounge chairs to enjoy time away from the crowds!
I mostly wandered away from the central plazas and just enjoyed the Very Realistic medieval vibe. Cobblestone roads, walled alleys and streets, the original stone buildings everywhere still in tact from centuries ago have me transported, imagining I am living in those times. I can almost hear the horses hooves and the yelling Italian villagers!
I invited Julie and Roz to join me on the rooftop for an early dinner of olives, salad, fruit and pizza! They are also from Washington and staying in Assisi an additional day. I know there is so much to take in late nights in Italy but this tired walker looked very much forward to an early bedtime!!
Assisi is in the heart of Umbria, half way up the slopes of Mt. Subasio, at 424 metres above sea-level. The summit of the mountain sits at 1,290 metres above sea-level.”
“Although Umbrian in origin, Assisi was influenced by nearby Etruscan settlements. Under the name, ‘Asisium’, It became a flourishing Roman municipality. At the beginning of the 3rd century A.D., the martyr Rufino, the first bishop of Assisi, introduced the Christian faith. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Assisi was razed by Totila and the Goths (545 A.D.), recaptured by the Byzantines and then conquered by the Lombards, it remain under the dominion of the Duchy of Spoleto for a considerable period. It began to flourish again during the 11th and 12th centuries as a free Comune but it was soon troubled again by new wars. It fell to Barbarossa and it was here, in fact, that Fredrico II grew up. Saint Francis and Saint Clare were also born here during this period, the former in 1182 and the latter in 1193. Besides imperial and papal dominion, Assisi was subject at various times to the Perugians, the Viscontis, the Montefeltros, the condottiere Braccio Fortebraccio and the Sforzas. It was also torn apart by internal feuding between the Upper and Lower parts of the town. From the 16th century to 1860, except for the brief Napoleonic period, it was part of the Papal States.” “The extraordinary secret of the town lies in its capacity to combine normal day-to-day living with a re-evocation of the past and moments of intense spirituality.” (taken from the city tour map and I apologize, but I cannot read the website shown in tiny red print to share it here)