A Moveable Feast: Assisi, outside the city walls

November 18, 2014 | Italy Pilgrimage 2014, Travel

Yesterday we spent the day — two days, really — wandering around the city of Assisi. Today we’re going to venture outside the city walls. On our second day in Assisi, we visited the Hermitage of St. Francis, the Church of San Damiano, and a fantastic winery-agriturismo outside Assisi in the town of Montefalco.

Our trip to the Hermitage of St. Francis (Eremo delle Carceri) was well worth the early drive via taxis (because the road is too narrow and winding for a tour bus) to the retreat on the slope of Mount Subiaso. This is where St. Francis and his friars came to get away from the busyness of life and pray in silence and solitude. The views were stunning, but the fact that we were able to touch the walls of the cell where St. Francis once slept was pretty overwhelming. Here’s a quick visit to the hermitage in photos.

Entering the hermitage. Can you tell I can’t get enough of this St. Francis stuff?

Assisi hermitage mary enter


The chapel where St. Francis prayed…
Assisi hermitage chapel


Looking out from the hermitage…

Assisi hermitage window

Narrow stairs leading to St. Francis’ cell…

assisi SD narrow stairs


St. Francis slept here in this little cave. I just kept running my hand over the wall, trying to grasp the fact that I was actually touching a wall that St. Francis surely touched as he came and went from this cell.

Assisi Francis cell


Exiting the cell. Obviously St. Francis wasn’t a very tall fellow…

Assisi Mary exiting


Hermitage beauty…

Assisi hermitage outside


Out on the grounds…Imagine St. Francis looking out at that view and praying his Canticle of Brother Sun and Sister Moon.

Assisi hermitage outdoors


After the hermitage, we headed to the Church of San Damiano, where St. Clare and her Sisters lived. We attended Mass while we were there. Here’s the spot where St. Clare died:

Assisi st. clares death


Here’s the window where she stood holding the Eucharist, eventually turning back attacking forces.

Assisi San Damiano window


The flowers mark the spot where St. Clare prayed each day.

Assisi SD st clare prayed


Me with my godmother, Aunt Margaret, in the cloister garden at San Damiano.

Assisi SD mary and aunt margaret


From there our fearless bus driver, Sergio, managed to drive our giant bus up some very narrow, winding country roads and around hairpin bends — even backing our bus back down a road that was just too small — so that we could eat lunch at the Arnaldo-Caprai winery, an agriturismo that serves only what it grows and makes on its own grounds. Here’s one view:
Assisi winery view 1


Our antipasto. Actually this was just one small part of our first course. Not enough room for all those photos.

Assisi winery food 1


Our segundi — the best rigatoni I have ever had.

Assisi winery food 2


Our favorite of the many wines we tasted.

Assisi winery bottle


Back out on the grounds…

Assisi winery view 2


Me and my sweetie at the winery.

Assisi winery mary and dennis


The best bus driver ever: Sergio.

assisi sergio and mary


And…the three musketeers of the pilgrimage: On the left, Melani of Joyful Catholic Journeys — the one who got this whole food-faith pilgrimage rolling two years ago; yours truly; and Isabella, the most amazing tour guide ever. She MADE this pilgrimage. So talented, so hard-working, so funny and knowledgeable. We were truly blessed to have her as our guide from start to finish. To be honest, I can’t imagine going back to Italy with out her.

Assisi me melani isabella


And finally…a return to our hotel for a last dinner in Assisi. This is taken from the window of our room with a view. Yeah, amazing.

Assisi hotel view

Next up: ROME, one of my favorite places on earth. (Assisi being the other.) If you missed yesterday’s Assisi post, click HERE And if you want to go back to see any of the earlier pilgrimage posts, click the “Travel” or “Pilgrimage” tabs at the top of my blog menu. Ciao for now!


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