Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Bird Man Of Assisi

Being the good Catholic that I am (just don't read any of my blogs about my school days and basically everything else I've ever said or written since 1970 !!), I just had to drag my good friends, Daphne and Stephen, to the town of Assisi on Tuesday.

Assisi has a special place in the hearts and souls of Catholics as it was there, a few years ago I believe, that St. Francis was attacked by birds in a scene that was later made into a movie by Alfred Hitchcock. I think those are the basic facts.

Anyway after this attack he changed his ways and decided to wear a brown robe all day and call himself a Franciscan, which was really handy as his name was Francis you see. Loads of his pals wanted to join up too so they created an order of monks called, wait for it, Franciscans and they all lived happily ever after.

Ok so maybe this all happened back in the 12th century but I'm sure birds were involved and certainly a man named Francis was a key player. The Basilica of Saint Francis is a huge ediface up on the steep hill on which Assisi is built and it hits you between the eyes when you approach the town.

I told Stephen to brake hard !

To say it dominates is putting it mildly and here is a panorama I took to show what I mean.

That bit on the left is all part of the Basilica and there was one built on top of the other, Inferiori and Superiori, so you got two for the price of one in those days - just as well really as I can't begin to imagine the work involved building anything in these hill towns in Tuscany. We've visited quite a few of them and they make the streets of San Francisco look like somewhere in Norfolk.

Boy we've walked up some steep streets on this trip. My ears popped a few times just getting to the car parks and then you have to walk the rest of the way of course. I've taken over 2,000 photos so you'll get to see a few after I get home tomorrow as right now we just want to rest for the evening and be packed and ready for the flight home in the morning.

Just one photo before I go. This was taken this morning minutes after we left our overnight B&B up in the Tuscan hills and came down to the (still) hill town of Pitigliano. Once again we were staggered by the idea that a town had been built like it had been sculpted out of the rock - like some sort of Italian Mt. Rushmore except without any faces and not in America. But APART from that, very Mt. Rushmore like I think you'd agree. Astonishing anyway.

So that's it from Italy and Daphne has written a very good blog post herself just now - we ARE a sad t'interclacker pair aren't we ??? We'll be home mid afternoon tomorrow and then I can post photos till you're sick and tired of our Italy trip, probably by Saturday !

Ciao for the last time.


Yorkshire Pudding said...

Pitigliano does look amazing.
I'll be tuning in to "Look North" on Friday evening to see the three intrepid travellers being interviewed by Harry and Christa.

Jay said...

Pitigliano does look a little bit like Mount Rushmore without the faces and not in America, but I think you may possibly have got Francis of Assisi's story just a tad wrong.

Glad you had a good time over there in Italy!

rhymeswithplague said...

Italy's loss will be England's gain. I think you should go in the tourguide business, or at least the travel brochure business.

ruth said...

So glad you went to Assisi. It is amazing. And I'm glad it is still wonderful despite the reported major damage it suffered in the earthquake of September 1997.

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