Woke up to cold, about fifty degrees, and rain with some wind. We decided that after breakfast, it would be a good idea to tour the Basilica of St. Francis since we would be indoors. There was just a little drizzle on the way there. The church is magnificent with a lower and upper level. The church construction started in the 1200s. Again, no photos inside. The lower basilica is Romanesque, while the upper basilica is Gothic. There are some differences in arches and ornamentation. The lower basilica contains the tomb of St. Francis. The upper basilica had some of the oldest stained glass windows in Europe and has murals by Giotto who was ahead of his time and the Renaissance.
We left the basilica and headed towards the castle but the weather did not look great and we may have gotten off track. We headed back into town and a steady downpour. We had a light lunch since there will be a big dinner. A short break at the hotel and then out for an Assisi walk.
Dolora and i tried to wait out the rain but that did not seem to be working so we headed out anyway. The self guided walk started at the site of the old Roman amphitheatre. That was a bit disappointing, there was an oval walk around some houses dating from the 1300s. There was a beautiful view from just outside the nearby city gate even in the rain. Next stop was the Cathedral of San Rufino, who is surprisingly the patron saint of Assisi, not St. Francis. St. Rufino was responsible for converting Assisi to Christianity. From there it was to the Basilica of St. Clare, a contemporary of St. Francis and founder of the Order of the Poor Clares. This church contains the crucifix that spoke to St. Francis.
I am now noticing the differences in the arches which are associated with architectural styles and time periods…? The next stop was the Roman Temple of Minerva, which has been converted to a Catholic church. Near the altar, you can see original Roman stone drains for blood sacrifices.
We could not find the last stop, the Church of San Stefano. This is where the bells started ringing by themselves when St. Francis died. Turns out, it is really small and some others doing the walk missed it as well.
Back to the hotel and then off to dinner at La Mandric di Sao Paulo. Too many courses and too much food. It was family style with the tour group. Looking forward to warmer weather in Rome.