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The adventures of the Mel

The amazing Assisi (part one)

ITALY | Saturday, 2 October 2010 | Views [694] | Comments [2]

I’m sitting in the private living/dining area of the beautiful B&B Tess and I have scored for our time here in Assisi. We had no idea that we would have what is essentially an apartment to ourselves. It is half of the downstairs of a three storey house: the downstairs is used as the B&B and the upstairs section is where the owners live. Have I mentioned how much I enjoy staying in family homes?

Our hosts, Lanfranco and Marcella, are especially warm and welcoming. Lanfranco speaks a little English, though most of our conversations tend to be a hybrid when he can’t figure out what to say. Marcella knows a few words but only enough to interject these with a smile. I am loving the opportunity to remember the language and be helped along. Tess is also understanding most of what is going on, but she is yet to feel confident enough to try speaking. Piano, piano (slowly, slowly).

Each morning around eight, Lanfranco and Marcella bustle into our section with a selection of pastries and bread rolls for our breakfast. They chat to us and amongst themselves as they arrange breakfast and the conversations linger on well after we have finished eating. They are so friendly and really make us feel like part of the family. I’m in love and haven’t even gotten to the Assisi part!

The B&B is actually in a smaller town called Santa Maria degli Angeli, which is about 4 km from Assisi and where the train station is located. Lanfranco picked us up from the train station when we arrived then spent about an hour talking to us, telling us and showing us on the map where all the main sites are and provided us with a book on the art and history in the area so that we could ‘study’.

After lounging about for a little while we put on our walking boots and headed toward Assisi. We first found our way into the centre of Santa Maria degli Angeli to gaze up at the Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli, for which the area is named, in case you couldn’t tell. The main entrance to the basilica is topped with a golden Mary which radiates unbelievably in the setting sun. Within the basilica is another tiny church; the chapel of the Porziuncola, apparently very important to St. Francis. It is smattered with frescoes inside and out and looks almost comical sitting in the centre of the basilica. Aside from this the Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli is a fairly standard cathedral.

Around the side of the cathedral is a long string of fountain jets (26 to be exact) which was apparently commissioned by the Medici family to “quench the thirst of the pilgrims who came to take advantage of the indulgence of pardon”. Awesome. Too bad you can’t actually reach the jets. Yes. I tried. Maybe.....okay, there’s a path I’m not going down. Go down it yourself.

So, off to Assisi we ventured. More like meandered. What should be a 45 minute walk took us 1.5 hours. Ooh! Let’s take a photo of this. Wow! That’s pretty. Look at that! Check this out! This would make a cool shot...stand here. And so on and so forth. The fields that relax out between Santa Maria degli Angeli and Assisi are lined with trees and beautiful red flowers, which equals fun when you have colour accent on your camera. Every so often a beautiful old stone building is nestled amongst the fields, and look amazing juxtaposed with storm clouds. Ahead of us we could see Assisi, stretched out and perched atop a hill. We finally got to the bottom of said massive hill that Assisi is on – whose stupid bloody idea was that?? We slowly trudged up to finally get to the top and be welcomed by the stone walled town of Assisi.

<please turn over>




I turned over and nothing happened - except I banged my knee on the chair....

  Peter Oct 6, 2010 6:08 PM


I had a smart arse comment in mind, but my brother just made me laugh and forget it - good one Pete.

Oh actually, it wasn't a smart comment, it was one of envy....I want to be in a B & B just like that!

  Sally Oct 11, 2010 6:34 PM

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