Basilica di San Francesco – Assisi, Italy
As we all know, in December 2013 Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca performed in Rai’s Concerto di Natale in the Basilica Superiore di San Francesco in Assisi. So lets take another quick look at this truly heavenly, out of this world city.
Per MN: “Assisi is a city in the Umbria Region of central Italy located in the Perugia Province. It developed from the Eutruscan and then the Roman town of Assisium of which the temple of Minerva (now a church) is the most notable remain. Assisi is famous as it was the birth place of Saint Francis and Saint Clare, respectively the founders of two religious orders the Franciscan Friars and the Poor Clare Sisters.
After St. Francis, and St. Clare died, churches were built in their honor. The Church of St. Francis, called the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi (Basilica di San Francesco), his burial place, is also famous for the fresco paintings on the walls and vaults.
In Upper Church and Lower Church you can see beautiful examples of fresco paintings namely by Cimabue(1240-1302), Simone Martini, Pietro Lorenzetti and some attributed to the School of Giotto, to mention the most well known. You can also appreciate the glass work of the “Vetrate” del ‘Maestro di san Francesco’.
Cimabue painting, image credits to Starlight modified by GunnarBach http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:San_Francesco_Cimabue.jpg
Saint Clare’s remains are in the Basilica of Saint Clare which construction work began in 1257, three years after the saint’s death and a year after she was canonized. You will find fresco paintings by Puccio Capanna (1340-46) as well as other frescoes of the school of Giotto and by Lorenzetti and biblical scenes by an artist known as the Maestro Espressionista di Santa Chiara (first half of the 14th century). But the oldest church in Assisi is Santa Maria Maggiore (St. Mary the Greater). San Francesco (Saint Francis) and Santa Caterina da Siena (Saint Catherine of Siena) are the patron saints of Italy.
In 1997 Assisi was hit by the two earthquakes. Many people “made donations” to repair the building which was reopened less than two years later. Assisi is a World Heritage Site and is a visited by both pilgrims and tourists.”
MN (mlla) told me, “I was in the Umbria region when very young and it was a beautiful experience to travel through the countryside, I also attended the Jazz Festival in Perugia. It is a festival well renowned worldwide and during 10 days in the month of July Perugia embraces the best of the Italian and International jazz. The Festival was officially born August 23rd, 1973.
Umbria is a very green region with lovely hills and countryside and has some beautiful historical sites and mediaeval monuments, churches and castles in cities like Spoleto, Orvieto, Gubbio, Narni, Todi, Assisi and Perugia and other smaller centres. The main products are oil and olives, wine, cold cuts, meats like raw ham Salame di Norcia and sausages, hand made type pasta, mushrooms and truffles. Some cities are very well known for the hand painted potteries.” I asked if Assisi is close to Gianluca’s home in Montepagano and MN said the “Umbria and Abruzzo regions are not very far but still I believe it will take about three hours to go from Montepagano to Assisi by car.”
* Thank you MN (mlla) for sharing your knowledge and memories of all things associated with Assisi!
Basilica Of Saint Francis Cloister
Blessing of newlyweds outside Basilica
Our guide made a quick exit, as our tour of the Basilica came to a close!
The photo above and those below are taken in Assisi and the surrounding countryside.
Assisi Town Square
My picture of the fountain above was taken late at night, it is a little out of focus and from looking at it you don’t know there was music playing and you can’t see the activity going on near by; people laughing and dancing, so full of life. A “Gelateria” with a window full of the most beautiful desserts was across the street. My picture of it is so less than perfect, because I was in a hurry to catch up with my fellow travelers, but I would like you to imagine its beauty. To me this blur of a picture represents the hum of activity in the square. It was alive and the air – so light – it seemed like heaven on earth! Truly my wandering in Assisi that night was an ethereal experience, one I hope to experience again soon. mfa
Gelateria near Assisi Town Square
While I was looking for additional resources on Assisi, I found the UNESCO website “Assisi, the Basilica of San Francesco and Other Franciscan Sites” http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/990 . This site notes that the city of Assisi is located at the foot of Subasio Mountain and built on the slopes of the hill of Asio. The “urban settlement is elongated and extends from the south-east towards the north-west” and “the Roman plan of the city is based on the set of terraces.” In the history of medieval Assisi the life and work of Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) was undoubtedly the most remarkable event. The Basilica of San Francesco was started in 1228. “An exquisite Gothic portal” makes up the entry way into the lower basilica where the interior is completely covered with frescoes by an unknown artist, the Maestro di San Francesco, the earliest from 1253. With the construction of the Basilicas the medieval settlement took on a new look; the main square was developed over the former forum area with the Temple of Minerva. To read more go to the source: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/990
Additional Resources I found for you!
– Town Square in Assisi Live Webcam
– Beautiful video by ‘gogetyerselfalife” – Music by Turin Brakes
Inside Basilica di San Francesco Assisi [St. Francis of Assisi], Italy
– Assisi, the Basilica of San Francesco and Other Franciscan Sites http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/990
– Earthquakes Jolt Assisi http://www.americancatholic.org/News/earthquake/
– Post-earthquake restoration complete at Assisi Basilica http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=16160
– Assisi and the Basilica of St. Francis
– Sacred Destinations – Assisi http://www.sacred-destinations.com/italy/assisi
– The Basilica of St Francis and the Sacro Convento http://www.assisionline.com/assisi__162.html
– Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi
– St. Francis of Assisi A Detailed Biography
– Poor Clare Sisters http://poorclare.org/