Back to the medieval! We talk about Saint Francis of Assisi and his Canticle of the Creatures, one of the first examples of written Italian. Anne once fantasized about a sitcom based on his life called Everybody Loves Francis! (Mostly just for the title.) And then take a trip to his hometown of Assisi in Umbria: how to get around, what to see, where to stay, and (as always!) what to eat! Pax et bonum! Pace e bene! Peace and Goodness!
Patron saint of animals and ecology as well as the country of Italy (along with Catherine of Siena), Francis did quite a bit of traveling, preaching as he went. Yet he always came back to his hometown of Assisi. Well worth a visit today not only for its connection to its famous native son, Assisi is a marvelous example of a medieval Italian hilltop town. Francis is buried in the lower basilica of San Francesco in Assisi, where you can also admire the frescoes attributed to Giotto in the upper church that depict Francis's life and miracles. Also in the historic center of Assisi you can visit the Basilica of Santa Chiara, which contains the saint's crypt as well as the crucifix, which, according to the legend, first called Francis to "repair my church."
As we mention in the episode, Francis died in the lower part of the town of Assisi, in this church of the Porziuncola, today enclosed by the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli. We also talked about hiking up to the Eremo delle Carceri, a lovely place in the woods where Francis and his followers would retreat for solitude and prayer.
And we also talked a lot about eating! A great place to eat (and stay) about a kilometer outside of the city walls is the Ristorante La Stalla at Fontemaggio, which, as the name suggests, is housed in a converted stall. You can try local favorites like pasta or meats cooked over an indoor enormous grill. Fontemaggio also has a hotel, hostel and campground.
We read aloud and talk more in-depth about Francis's prayer, The Canticle of Brother Son (or Cantle of the Creatures). You can read the original and an English translation here.