Assisi/Santa Maria degli Angeli
The town of Assisi and it’s sister city Santa Maria degli Angeli are literally the jewels of the Spoleto valley. Historically they were small cities on the border of the papal Spoleto valley and the imperial city at the edge of the Tiber valley, Perugia. This put it at an interesting and strategic place that marked it’s history with conflict. Part of the beauty we see today is the beautiful castle of Assisi overlooking the city. More prominent and on the crest of the hill, the monastery complex and basilica of Saint Francis have become it’s iconographic image.
As an excursion, the town of Assisi and Santa Maria degli Angeli are one of the most important places to visit in Umbria. Assisi is famous as the birthplace of the Francescan order and the home of Saint Francis and Saint Clare whose presence permeates everything about the beautiful medieval streets. The work of Saint Francis was wide spread and one of the sweetest examples of that is the small chapel he helped reconstruct with is own hands, the Porziuncola, meaning small portion.
Situated inside the modern cathedral of Santa Maria degli Angeli, the small and delicate structure is a true testament to the pure philosophical ideas practiced by Francis and Clare. Today Assisi has grown into a Mecca of sorts. The basilicas of Saint Francis and Saint Clare are works of incredible Gothic architecture, and the art of the artists such and Giotto and Cimabue are part of the foundations of the renaissance. It is important to visit these site with an experienced guide who can help interpret the nuance of everything that has happened in this historic and sacred place.
Most importantly, Assisi, as a part of Umbrian history and above all the splendor of what we see today, was really born from the simplest of ideals. Love of nature and the sacred are the purest and most historic philosophies that come directly from the forests of Umbria. A walking tour, and visit to these sites, will be followed by lunch at a local trattoria, and some free time for wandering after lunch before the 30 minute bus ride back to the resort in time for an afternoon practice.