Michael and Pam's Travels

Assisi, Italy. 2018.

Date:  10th September 2018

Travelled:  82 kilometres from Spello in Umbria to Cortona in Tuscany, Italy.

Visited:  Assisi and Cortona

Stayed:  Cortona, free car-park.  No services. N43.27312, E11.98784

Budget:  99 days @ €94 per day.

 

An early start today.  It’s not about wanting to get away from Spello but about wanting to be in Assisi early.  So we have our breakfast pack up and service the Hymer.  Looking at my notes this morning I note we have now done more than 10,000 klms in the Hymer since leaving Bosham some 14 weeks ago.

 

Our first good look at Assisi and the Basilica di San Francesco.

 

Its only some 20 klms to Assisi and we are soon in the bus and camper parking area (N43.07711, E12.59956), which is not free unfortunatley, so we take a ticket and park under a tree.  The Basilca di San Francesco is on the hill above us, the town of Assisi further up the hill.  From what we read, Assisi is second only to St Peter’s Basilica in its importance to Catholics as a sacred site.  Apart from the many pilgrims who pass through here everyday, there are thousands of tourists as well.  Hence we want to beat the crowds.

 

Get Directions

 

It’s a long steep walk up the hill to the Basilica. We should have got the scooter off and saved ourselves from getting a sweat, but in reality it wasn’t that far.  This photo the Porticoed forecourt leading to the Basilica.

 

The entrance to the lower church, access to the crypt and St Francis tomb can be found here.  There are no photos and there are security people everywhere.

 

The cloisters.  The museum is on this upper terrace as well.

 

The entrance to the upper church, basically on top of the lower church.  Sounds logical enough.

 

Pam, in her ‘visiting a religious site’ attire.

 

This bronze statue of St Francis and his horse, stands on the upper terrace.

 

What can I say.  Certainly one of the most beautiful and inspiring places we have ever visited.  For some reason the Taj Mahal springs to mind.  Don’t come to Italy, without a visit to Assisi.  Do come early though.

 

So we walk up town into Assisi.  This ancient columned structure captures our interest straight away.  Originally a roman temple dedicated to the Goddess Minerva, circa 100BC.  It was converted into the Church of San Donato in 1212.

 

A quick photo inside the church, sorry about the poor framing.

 

On the Palazzo del Podesta we find a group of Nuns and Novices taking photos with the fountain as a backdrop.

 

Then suddenly, one of them says ‘lets have a gelato’ and there off.  Don’t get between a Nun and her gelato !

 

The fountain is now a Nun free zone and I take this picture.

 

A waterfountain on a back street, obviously well used.  Our walk back down the hill was much easier than the walk up.

 

The Hymer is still parked in the shade, but now surrounded by tourist coaches, many from outside Italy.  We have lunch, set the GPS for Contona and roll out into the traffic.

 

Get Directions

 

On the road, passing Lago Trasimeno.

 

There is no dedicated sosta at Contona, but a large section of this car-park is set aside for motorhomes.  Contona found fame from a movie titled ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’, don’t remember it but a lot of other people do.

 

There are some lovely views across the Tuscan countryside from here as well.

 

We walk up town as the sun sets.

 

On the Piazza della Republica, the 13th century hub of Cortona.

 

A little further along the Piazza Signorelli.

 

An interesting wall near the museum.  We have seen several old public building like this through Tuscany and Umbria.  The coat of arms of important local families we presume.

 

Another view across the valley as the sun sets across Tuscany.  This picture from a viewing point on the Piazza del Duomo.

 

Would love this in our garden.

 

St Margaret of Cortona, patron saint of the falsely accused.  Margaret died in 1297, she was cannonised in 1728.

 

One of the camper stop reviews for Cortona, comments on the excellent food at BeerBone BurgerArt.  We agree, mind you the fact we havn’t eaten beef for several weeks may have helped.  It’s well and truly dark as we make our way down the 100 or so steps to the parking lot.  Not easy when your full of burger and beer.  Another day gone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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