Thursday, April 24, 2014

Assisi! - Part Two



We unfortunately didn't sleep much that night in Assisi given the way overtired toddler but we peeled ourselves out of bed very early trying to make as much of this day as we could.  Who knows if we will ever be here again.

We treated the boys to pastries for breakfast.  Which is pretty much all I can find for breakfast here.  Do Italians not eat breakfast?  Not that I'm complaining about the pastries because oh my goodness...

And I got a coffee.  And then another.  As I sat outside in the square of Assisi.  According to Brian, "This is your moment, Mary."  So much so that apparently he had to take a picture?

My moment included trying to make sure none of my offspring got crushed by a car as they ran back and forth to the fountain where cars drive around inches away and can't see a thing.  Apparently moment standards have changed.

Our first stop of the day was the Basilica of San Francesco.  The big one.


No inside photos allowed.  It is breathtaking, though.  Plus St. Francis is buried here.  


I kept thinking about the people close to me named after the great saint...my dad, brother, and Godson.    I prayed for them here as well as all the intentions I received.

 Just to give you an idea, here's a few photos I didn't take...




See?  And that's only a sliver.  And best of all of this, we were able to participate in an English Mass in the chapel where St. Francis is buried shown right above which is why we got there so early.  We thought it was pretty amazing for all of us but especially for Michael who received his second Communion in such an amazing place.  That kid is pretty darn blessed.

After the basilica we hiked up to the top of the hill to a treat for the boys that Brian planned - a tour through a real castle, the Rocco Maggiore.  The weather was supposed to be 70 and sunny but for some reason it was cloudy, crazy windy (especially on that hill!), and couldn't have been over 60.  It was so cold with the wind.

But the view from the top was pretty epic.





The boys' favorite room.  It gave me the creeps.

There was one pretty sweet part where you could walk along inside the castle wall.  The boys ran full speed and shot their pretend arrows out each of the archer slots in the wall.



Not gonna lie, I was really ready to be done with this place.  But the boys were loving it so I did my best to seal my lips and just get through it.

We were so cold and wind blown by the time we got back down.  We walked over to our last destination, the Basilica of Santa Chiara (which is the original pronunciation of Claire...isn't that so pretty?).  It was closed for a few hours so we hung out, ate our peanut butter sandwiches in the yard and wandered the souvenir shops for an hour.  

And fed pigeons.  St. Francis would have been proud.  One of them only had one leg.


This is another place you can't take pictures in.  I'm sure I don't need to tell you that it's beautiful :)
Her body is incorrupt and lies in state in a crypt below the church.  It was really powerful.  There was also a room attached with some amazing relics - her golden curls, her hair shirt and cloak, the slippers St. Francis wore when he suffered the stigmata, a poultice and covering she made for the wounds in his hands.  Amazing.

The church itself also houses the original San Damiano cross, the one that spoke to St. Francis.  It's pretty awesome.


The above two pictures are from the church's official site

Then it was time to get back down the hill to catch our train.  

"Ah, now it feels like one of our trips."  
I don't even know how he does it.  Just pushing that stroller and I was in pain.

So long to the peaceful village and back to the craziness of Roma.

I really wish we had had more time and better weather in Assisi but it still left a big impression on all of us.  We got back exhausted but so glad for that little escape from the city if only for a night.


Other Notes from Today:
-David was so excited to buy a Rosary from Assisi with his own money.  He's been carrying it with him everywhere.  I've been loving watching them decide what to buy with the money they were gifted from grandmas and watching them interact with the Italian salesladies is the best.
-The red geraniums everywhere against that Assisi brick.  Gorgeous.
-Luke hasn't napped pretty much the whole time we've been here.  I don't know how people get those kids that conk out in the stroller.  None of my kids have ever done that past the baby stage.  What magical thing am I missing?
-Coffee makes me a much happier person.
-Michael saying, "Now that I've received my First Communion, it's made me want to go to Mass more."
-Laundry never takes a vacation.  Also, I miss my washer and dryer and being able to wash more than five or six articles of clothing at a time.  And being able to actually get clothes clean.  I really don't know if I'm working the machine right.
-I would have loved to have gotten some cool souvenirs but it's kind of a tossup between that and eating at this point in the trip.  That pottery they had everywhere in Assisi was beautiful but so so expensive.
-John Paul and Michael have been trying so hard to help with carrying things.  It's also kind of neat to see them confident in taking the subways and buses.
-I love that we can trust that the grace is here and present and penetrating our souls even if we can't feel it in the moment.  I've learned (am learning) to trust in that over the feelings.  The biggest part is just being available to Him.






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10 comments:

  1. What a cool castle - I can just imagine how much your boys loved seeing it and walking through it. I love the picture of Brian carrying children and luggage...awesome!

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  2. What a beautiful city -Assisi ! Adding the professional pictures of the churches was a great idea. The churches are so beautiful. The trip to the castle for your young knights had to be an amazing adventure for them and it looked like there weren't too many people there. I look forward to your daily posts.

    Grandma

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  3. I look forward to your posts as well! It's so much fun to see what you're doing every day. I'm so glad you loved Assisi - it is such a welcomed peace after Rome's hectic pace. You must all be exhausted but you're smart to press on anyway because, like you said, who knows if you'll ever be back there again? Our motto is we have all of eternity to sleep, so seize the day!!
    What a special treat for the boys to go to a real castle! So exciting for them! I got a kick out of seeing you sitting at the outside cafe eating "breakfast"-no they don't know what that is! We sat at the same place! So cool! Hope you get some rest.

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  4. Oh this makes me want to go to Assisi even more! St. Francis is my patron!

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  5. Awesome pictures! I've never been to the northern parts of Italy, Assisi, my it is breathtaking and the panorama is serene and peaceful! Thank you so much for sharing your journey, amazing pictures and narration of all the different churches and places you have visited. I am always so eager to to read your posts of your trip, they are all very interesting (and educating too!) =) God bless!

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  6. Haha! I know what you mean about the pastries for breakfast. When my family went that was all we could find. Except for one place that offered an "American Breakfast" of eggs, toast, and maybe pancakes. When my husband and I went to Rome for our honeymoon, we stayed with the Norbertines and they had croissants with nutella for breakfast every morning with warm milk. Except Sundays, then they had sunny side up eggs :)

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  7. Haha! I know what you mean about the pastries for breakfast. When my family went that was all we could find. Except for one place that offered an "American Breakfast" of eggs, toast, and maybe pancakes. When my husband and I went to Rome for our honeymoon, we stayed with the Norbertines and they had croissants with nutella for breakfast every morning with warm milk. Except Sundays, then they had sunny side up eggs :)

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  8. Haha! I know what you mean about the pastries for breakfast. When my family went that was all we could find. Except for one place that offered an "American Breakfast" of eggs, toast, and maybe pancakes. When my husband and I went to Rome for our honeymoon, we stayed with the Norbertines and they had croissants with nutella for breakfast every morning with warm milk. Except Sundays, then they had sunny side up eggs :)

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  9. Our oldest girl is Chiara! so extra loved reading today's post:) but enjoying them all. makes the whole canonization special cause I have a friend there!! Just telling my Chiara (20) about your adventures:)

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  10. Assisi is the one place in the world I would move to in a heartbeat. And I've never even visited. My daughter is named for St. Francis (spelled with an "e") and I like to think she has his peaceful nature.

    I loved that last bit, Mary.

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