Today we took a day trip to the beautiful town of Assisi. The town was quiet and not filled with too many tourists. The entire town sat on a hill so by the end of the day our legs were killing us, but Assisi has been one of my favorite places of the trip so far. We started our day by going to this massive, beautiful church that is the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi. As we were waiting outside to enter into the church we saw a group of nuns walking through the town in white garments. This is when I knew I was definitely in a town filled with Catholicism history. I am Catholic, so being in spaces that have so much rich history really excites me. I have also attended Catholic Schools most of my life so I would learn about these churches in my religion classes. Being in spaces that I have learned about as a young child is so exciting.
The first part of the church we walked through was the space where the fryers would perform sacraments. This space was very intimate. The natural lighting allowed for a cooler space and as you walked into the church you could feel the spirit within the room. The main focus of the space is the crucifix because it is important to the language of Franciscans about sacrifice. The Franciscans make vows of humility, chastity, and obedience and this is present within the space. The dark, cool, intimate space of this church reflects the vows the Franciscans make. After we took the time to enjoy this space we made our way down to where Saint Francis is buried. As you walked into the room where his body lays you can feel the divine presence. I could not wrap my head around the fact that I was standing in the same room as Saint Francis body who is one of the most iconic Saints in the Catholic Church. I am not sure if Saint Francis would have appreciated the grand tomb where he is laid and the Church that was built for him since he was such a humble man, but the upper church filled with many fresco paintings was marvelous. We made our way around the Church and entered into the upper church where the public is allowed to come and worship. The space is filled with frescos that depict Francis’ life and the church. I loved listening to Kirk explain each of the frescos and what each element in the painting symbolizes. If I had just wandered into this church with my family I would not have realized the significant value that each of the frescos has and what they are expressing to the public.
After we looked at the church we hicked up into the town. Assisi is built on a hill so we basically crawled our way up to the top of the hill. A group of us had a nice panini sandwich for lunch and a cannoli for dessert. With full happy stomachs, we decided to do a little site seeing in Assisi. Our first stop was to see the fortress at the very top of the hill. This is what led us on an accidental trail up a mountain. We could see the fortress, but couldn’t make out which way was the best way to reach it. We decided to take a random path and ended up walking an extra two miles up a dirt path. It was extremely hot that day and most of us were dresses so the walk was not the most enjoyable. However, when we finally made it to the fortress the view was well worth the walk. You could see the entire town of Assisi as well as the countryside behind it. It was absolutely breathtaking. We made our way through the fortress then back down the hill, but took the right path this time;) We ended our day in Assisi by seeing the Basilica of St. Clare. We got to see her actual body that has been covered in wax. It was incredible and a highlight moment for me. It is just truly amazing to think you are looking at an actual body of a Saint.
After a day full of hiking through Assisi our tired legs took us back to the bus where we made our way back to Arezzo. However, on our bus ride home, we passed a field filled with sunflowers. It was the perfect way to end such a great day.