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Assisi, home of Francis

March 22, 2010

We left early yesterday morning to drive to Assisi, the home of Francis, one of the most admired of the Roman Catholic leaders. He was the founder of the Franciscan order. Assisi is about 3 hours from Rome, so we drove. The village is located on a high hill with walls. It is a quaint place and was really fun to see. Our first stop there was at the church building that was built in honor of St Clair, organizer of the female counterpart to the Franciscans. Her life was to help the poor, even as Francis sought to do.

Our second stop was at a coffee shop. Coffee was great. We then walked through the town to the cathedral. It was an interesting experience. They have statues of Francis and Clair, and a beautiful room dedicated to Pope John Paul II.

We made it to Trattoria Paitotta for lunch. Another great lunch. Following lunch, we walked through the town to the church building dedicated to St. Francis. In fact, there are two buildings as a part of the complex. The first was built in the 12th century soon after Francis died. The second was built a few decades later on the top of the first. Both are beautiful, with the lower one being smaller and plainer than the upper one. The thing that kept coming to my mind was that Francis would not have been pleased to see all the resources in the two buildings spent in that way in his honor. His focus was to help the needy. In fact he gave away his fortune to do so. I know the beauty and opulence are tributes to him, but I think if he had had a vote he would voted for no resources dedicated to his honor and all the resources used to help the needy. But what do I know? I’m just a redneck from Mississippi.

Here are some pictures from the trip.

A church dedicated to Mary in a neighboring town. This is where Francis died.

A view of Assisi from the neighboring town

The church building dedicated to St Clair

Evidence of a coffee shop visited. This is my decaf Americano.

An Assisi street. With Clay on it.

The cathedral of Assisi

St Francis' statue in the cathedral

The entrance to the restaurant where we ate

Another street scene in Assisi

The upper church building dedicated to St Francis. We could not take pictures in the building.

We left Assisi and drove back to Rome. At he hotel we ate another gourmet meal, then some of us went for a night walk to downtown again. We went to Campo di Fiore, Piazza Farnese, Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, Treve Fountain, and the Spanish Steps.  Here are some shots. it was too dark to get one of the Pantheon and the Piazza Navona shot turned out blurry.

Spanish Steps at night

Treve fountain at night

A night view of the Colosseum

Today we visited two museums. The first was to view an exhibit of Claude Monet and other impressionists contemporary with him. The paintings were outstanding. We then went to see a visiting exhibit of Caravaggio paintings. This was the best visit to a museum we had on the trip. Caravaggio did not do many paintings, but his work was outstanding. I recommend him if you get a chance to see some of his work. In fact, when we finished at the museum where the exhibit was, we walked a little over a mile to see three more of his paintings in a church in the city. Of course, we were not able to take pictures in the museums, but I did get pictures of the buildings and of the three paintings in the church. The way they were hung and the crowd that was there to view them did not allow very good pictures, but here are the shots for what they are worth. Remember you can see the good pictures and the good writing on Jason’s and Clay’s blog.

The location of the Monet exhibit

The site of the Caravaggio exhibit

St Louis of the French church building where the other three Carvaggios are

St Peter

Paul's execution

Matthew's calling. "You want me!?

It has been a great trip. We are about to go and get the last gourmet meal here. Early tomorrow we start back. Pray for safety in travel for us. Blessings to you all.

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