Day 5

**This post was written on May 11, 2009 in Rome, Italy while I was on a Study Abroad.**

Today we were supposed to wake up bright and early to catch the train at 8:15 to Assisi. Yeah, that didn't work out quite as planned. Everyone woke up at 7 (15 minutes before we were supposed to meet in the Hotel Lobby) so we were all rushing to cram food into our mouths (and into our pockets) before we booked it out of the hotel.

The train ride took about 2 hours but the scenery was so beautiful that we were excited to be there!
At the Train Station in Assisi
From the Train Station we took a (really crowded) bus up to the little town of Assisi, the home of St. Francis.

We began our lesson on the steps of the Basilica di St. Francesco.
In front of the Basilica di Francesco
St. Francis grew up in a well-to-do household so life was pretty easy going for him; but when he learned about the church and was converted to the Catholic Church he forsook everything he had. He then had a dream where a variation of the cross appeared unto hum and asked him to restore his house which had begun to fall in disarray.

Saint Francis understood the house to be the spirituality of the followers of Christ so he began a sect of the church that made a vow of poverty and service. He also began a translation of all Church doctrine into the local dialect and preached that Christ was a young man who loved, and cared about ALL men.

 The poor people flocked to the message of Saint Francis, and after he died, young and old would pilgrimage to his grave to receive blessings from the Saint (This was the first time that it was believed that a saint could grant blessings after death in the form of open sainthood.). The pope saw this as a wonderful opportunity to become wealthy so built a large, lavish cathedral right over St. Francis's grave. The pope then built a palace overlooking the Cathedral so that everyone would know that HE was responsible for making St Francis's church the way it is today.

Our Study group took a tour through the Cathedral, stopping at St. Francis's grave (which is fairly plain, as I imagine he would have wanted it to be) and moved into the basilica, which was filled with massive works of art! The first art piece was the Crucifition by Cimabue.The artwork itself had diminished so much that you could hardly see any color, all that was left was the high and low lights, causing all the individuals in the piece to look gaunt and haunting. All of the saints (including Christ) had halos that protruded out of the wall.

Christ was bent in such a way on the cross that his body looked like the letter "C" (and someone was gripping his left foot, at least that is how it appeared at the time). Christ, himself, was dead. He wasn't sleeping peacefully, or in agony, or just standing there, and you could tell that he had gone through a crazy ordeal.

The next large piece that we saw was a series of frescoes by Giotto that depicted the life of St. Francis. There were 28 in all, and they were all about 10' x 15' spanning the entire length of the basilica. They started with his birth, then  his conversion to Christianity, then of his dream of the cross and the message that came with it all the way to his death and sainthood. The Frescoes were very detailed although not to scale, but it was quite realistic non-the-less.

When we left the church Steve (our Professor) took Nancy, Brianna, McKenzie and I out to eat. We sent to the little place hidden down a stairway right off the main road. I had the lasagna (the noodles there in were cooked so well it was like cutting into butter) and this pasta with Alfredo sauce and meat, it was all delicious!

Brianna, Steve, Nancy, McKenzie and I after Lunch

After lunch we parted ways and Nancy and I went walking all over. Up and down the little pathways, stopping now and then to take pictures and goof off.

Posing for our mini Photoshoot
We all got together again to take a tour through the Basilica of St. Claire which sported the original cross that St. Francis had dreamed about, as well as a copy of the cross we saw in the Crucifixion by Cimabue (pretty interesting). Then we left Assisi shortly thereafter, boarding the  bus to the train station and the taking the train back to Rome, just in time for dinner.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad I found your blog again! What fun adventures you are having. The photos are beautiful as well as your writing! That sounds so interesting and you look beautiful, as always, in your photos!


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