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?
The chapel where St. Francis prayed…
Looking out from the hermitage…
Narrow stairs leading to St. Francis’ cell…
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.
Exiting the cell. Obviously St. Francis wasn’t a very tall fellow…
Out on the grounds…Imagine St. Francis looking out at that view and praying his Canticle of Brother Sun and Sister Moon.
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:
Here’s the window where she stood holding the Eucharist, eventually turning back attacking forces.
The flowers mark the spot where St. Clare prayed each day.
Me with my godmother, Aunt Margaret, in the cloister garden at San Damiano.
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:
Our antipasto. Actually this was just one small part of our first course. Not enough room for all those photos.
Our segundi — the best rigatoni I have ever had.
Our favorite of the many wines we tasted.
Back out on the grounds…
Me and my sweetie at the winery.
The best bus driver ever: Sergio.
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.
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.
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!