A window into the life of a professional geek, wife and mother (and nonni), stitcher/designer, bibliophile, old-school gamer, and whatever other roles she finds herself in.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

We drove up to Assi-si-si to see what we could see-see-see (6/8)

There's timing for you: DsD was going to take her car (a '91 Saturn SL1) to the dealership to determine the cause of some recent problems she's been having. DH and I decided that given the age of the car, if the cost to repair was too much, we'd get another car and DsD would get his current one (a '96 Saturn SL1). Well, DsD's car died on the way to Saturn, which pretty much made the decision for us. DH is now the proud owner of a storm grey '04 Saturn ION2. Fortunately my car (an '00 Saturn LW1) will be paid off in August. Yes, I know, we're pretty much an all-Saturn family. We like the no-haggle deal, and the dent-resistant panels have come in handy. That, and the Saturn dealership is only a couple miles from our house and we've always gotten great service from them.

Anyway, instead of driving you crazy talking about new cars, I'll drive you to Assisi....

Italy - part 6 of 8
1 June 2004 - in flight
Well, I have four days to catch up on. Since we have an 11-hour flight back to Atlanta, now is probably the time!

Friday we got an early start and drove to Assisi,which took us about an hour. Once there, we walked up a somewhat steep hill to the Rocca Maggiore. It wasn't open right away, so we admired the splendid view of the surrounding countryside until opening. The Rocca also seemed to be a popular gathering point for the local adolescent population - there must have been 50 teens hanging out, playing soccer, or making out. (I think the guys were admiring more than just the countryside, especially after being flashed by one of the teen girls there.)

The Rocca is undergoing renovation, so we were only able to get into two of the towers. The main one, a polygonal tower, was accessible via a long narrow corridor, then a steep spiral staircase to reach the top lookout point. M didn't go up because he's not big on heights, but the rest of us did.

After the Rocca, we split up. M, L and H saw one of the churches, and then went on to Spoleto. G, DH, DsD, DD and I stayed to see more of the churches. We first went to San Rufino, which like many of the churches I've seen has a number of frescoes. It had a rather ornate baroque chapel which seemed in very good repair. Beneath the church were the remains of some crypts, including the sarcophagus that originally held St. Rufino. There were some very early Church carvings down in the crypt, and it was a little eerie down there.

There was also a small museum at San Rufino. There were some vestments on display - I was impressed with the detail of the embroidery - and some other liturgical items. There were also several paintings. G was a bit disressed at how poor a condition some were in and hoped they'd go in for restoration soon.

After S. Rufino, we went to the Temple of Minerva. It had very old classical columns, but the inside was a bit more modern. Relatively speaking, of course. It had a very Marian feel to it, especially in the frescoes.

From there we had lunch, then to the Basilica of S. Francesco (yes, the St. Francis). Certainly can't go to Assisi and not pay our respects to one of its most renowned and beloved residents. The Basilica is very large and ornate, with frescoes detailing the life of St.Francis on the walls of the main sanctuary. There were mosaics and frescoes, and a lot of giltwork. Downstairs was the lesser sanctuary, which was also mosaiced but a bit more austere. Stairs from there led down to St. Francis' tomb. It was both thrilling and sobering to be in the presence of such a worthy man.

Afterward we made our way to S. Chiara (St. Clare, Assisi's other famous saint). It sort of took a while to get there, as we kept popping into shops along the way. I fulfilled my mission of picking up piece of Assisiwork *in* Assisi. There were some very beautiful pieces for sale, but €50+ is a bit out of my range, even if it is undervalued for the time involved to create them! We stopped in another small church on the way - nowhere near as elaborate as the others, but still very nice in its simplicity.

St. Chiara's is also nice, and less ornate than S. Francesco. Her tomb was underneath, and you could actually see her body. She was laid out as if asleep, in nun's attire, and there was a mask covering her face, and other coverings on her hands and feet. [Ed: I've since learned her remains are skeletal, hence the coverings. At the time, I thought I remembered her being one of the incorruptibles, but I had her confused with someone else.] Seeing her laid out was profoundly moving, if a bit unnerving.

Afterward, we walked back to the car and drove back to Il Borghetto. We needed to get up early to check out and head for Rome, but DH, L, G and I stayed up until 1:30am playing spades. It was a single game - DH and I hit 500 the same hand we sandbagged. Then G and L sandbagged and as it was already past midnight we decided that the next team to sandbag would lose the game if there was no winner by then. I think G and L ended up sandbagging again, but it was late and I really don't remember well.

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