Day 9: Assisi

Today we visited Assisi and I learned that it’s much more than the city of St. Francis. The San Francesco Basilica is obviously a huge attraction here, as is the Basilica Di Santa Chiara (St. Clare). Both churches are lovely and contain frescoes and statues, and they feature Gothic architecture from the 1200s.

It’s a hilly city, not so different from the other towns we’ve visited in this region (Orvieto, Todi). I couldn’t find this in the literature, but I’m pretty sure Assisi is known as the Italian city that has the highest gelato cafes per capita. Literally, they are next to each other all up and down the streets. Also, there are bakeries like I haven’t seen since I’ve been to Italy. I took pictures of the windows and went into a few of them. They are totally overwhelming. I managed to choose just one thing: a pistachio cannoli. I really wanted a bite of everything.

In one shop that featured Italian meats, cheeses, pastas, and other Italian specialties, I was able to taste some of the olive oil and spreads that were being sold. The proprietor told me (in English, with a strong Italian accent) that his shop was featured in Rick Steves’ book. He then had me taste some eight-year-old balsamic vinegar, and I had to buy some. One drop in a puddle of olive oil should make for some mighty yummy dipping when I get home.

I did some shopping in Assisi – the stores were great – but I won’t say what I got because some things might end up being gifts.

We’re back in Todi for one more night. Tomorrow we leave Umbria for Tuscany.


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