Before I left the United States I asked all my friends where they thought I should visit while in Italy. Everyone had their own favorite place that they were rooting for, but several people said flat out “If you don’t go to Assisi then you did Italy wrong.”
I doubt there is actually a way to”do Italy” wrong and, since that sentiment mainly resonated with my church friends, I shrugged it off. Sure it would be great to see Assisi but I’m only in Italy for a month and there are a million places I would like to see. I had actually completely forgotten about Assisi until the day my OChem group took a day trip to Florence. On the way back Dr. G told the group that we would have some free days coming up. He gave us a tutorial on how to buy and validate train tickets, all the while talking about different places that are near Arezzo. I didn’t really give it much though, not planning on going anywhere. Why would I add the stress of foreign travel to the weekend that is my only time to detox from my insane class schedule. Then the professor casually mentioned that the Catholics in the group might be interested to know that Assisi is only an hour and a half away from Arezzo by train.
I instantly locked eyes with Miranda, another catholic in the group. We were on exactly the same wavelength, agreeing to take a day trip the next Sunday.
The following week came and went, a blur of classes, quizzes, exams, and wine. There ended up being five of us on the trip: Megan, Kendall, and James decided to join us on our excursion. It was only when we got off the train at the Assisi stop that we realized we hadn’t really thought this through. Not one of us thought about the fact that the train station could not be in historic Assisi. On the contrary, it was crowning the hill that was at least a mile and a half away. But we were determined. So we walked. All the way there.
Once we finally got to the city we decided to go straight to the main attraction. We got to the Duomo Supieriore just it time for noon mass. Afterward we toured the cathedral and saw St. Francis’s Tomb. And the we had no idea of what to do with our time. We were already halfway hump the hill, so we decided to finish climbing. We could explore the medieval fortress at the top and get a great view!!! We found out later that most people drive up the hill (we apparently walked more than twelve miles and climbed the equivalent of 90 flights of stairs).
When we finally got to the top, the view completely made up for it!!! We pId out entrance fee to explore the castle; we climbed the towers, we crept though passages, we marveled at the fortifications! It was an amazing adventure that seemed to take us back in time.
We had to trek back to the train station after we left the fortress, which was probably for the best. Nothing could really have out shone that experience.
I went to Assisi to see the cathedral and the tomb of St. Francis, and they were amazing; I am so glad I went!! But it isn’t the only thing in Assisi worth seeing!