Friday, January 31, 2014

Last Friday's visit to Assisi.

Emily and I are off to Sicily tonight, so this will be my last post for a while.  It has been raining pretty steady for the last 2 plus days, and it is predicted to continue today, so probably no ride before the trip.  Che picatto.  I know it will do me good to be off the bike for a number of days, but I really like to get out most days.  Last Friday, Emily and I went to Assisi with students from the Syracuse University program here and had a great time.  The person who does Emily's art history class coordinates all the field trips for the Syracuse program here, and as Emily had to miss the class field trip last December, she very kindly invited us to join on this trip.  

It was very fun.  Assisi is a beautiful old hill town, and is one of the major pilgrimage sites in the world.  St. Francis has a very large following, deservedly so.  Em gave me a number of things to read before the trip about Francis, and I really like the point of view that he looked at religion from.  It is pretty close to the sort of Buddhist point of view I subscribe to, and I think all religions have at their core, before the organized part of the religion takes over.  We had a wonderful tour of the Basilica, learned about the probable Giotto fresco's, and saw the location of the remains of St. Francis, which is what all the pilgrims come to see.  I have only experienced Elaine's lectures to ex-pats in her art history class and occasional lectures at the Pallazzo Tornaboni.  It was fun to experience and hear how she presents the material to students.  She is simply a super talented teacher who shares her love and enthusiasm of the subject well.  

After the tour, we walked up to the town center where there is the remains of an old Roman structure flanked by 14th and 15th century structures.  Quite interesting.  Emily and I joined Elaine and her assistants, Kellin and Laura, for lunch at a place she likes.  Really fabulous food, wine, and conversation.  One of the advantages of going with Elaine is she visits the different cities often with classes and knows the best places to eat.  This place was really outstanding.  After lunch, a slow, casual walk back to the bus, then a trouble free return home.  It was a full day, but really great.  Thanks, Elaine.  

Emily and some of the students on their way to the old town of 
Assisi from the bus parking area.  The large building is the Basilica
of Francis of Assisi.

The final approach to the Basilica.

After our tour of the Basilica, we walked to the town center.  On
the way there were many views like this in the old hill town.

I love the feel of the hill towns when they are so steep
that you have stairs instead of streets.

Looking up into a garden on the way to the Piazza del Popolo.

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