Assisi: the littlest hillside town with the biggest inclines

After a long bus ride from Naples, the class arrived in the beautiful Umbrian town of Assisi at about 6 pm on day 5, which gave everyone about an hour until all of the shops and restaurants reopened at 7. We quickly learned from our hike up to the Fontabella hotel from where our bus dropped us off why Assisi is known for being “the city of peace.” Every street was empty and quietly adorned with holiday lights. That night students went to dinner in groups and, as our waiters put it, rolled back down to the hotel after a filling meal.

The next morning we got up bright and early to meet our guide to tour the Saint Francis Cathedral and the rest of Assisi. The cathedral walls covered with famous frescos by Giotto and Chimabue were beautifully colored and surrounded St. Francis’ tomb. Our tour took us through the rest of Assisi and up to the cathedral of St. Claire, where the saint herself was laid in display for the public to see.

Later that day, we were lucky enough to hear the professionally trained voices of the nuns of St. Claire’s church sing us monophonic and mono harmonic Italian hymns that echoed through the marble halls of the chapel. The class was asked later to reflect on the service, which many were excited to write about.

Another early night in and a good night’s rest was needed to prepare ourselves for the 4-day marathon that would be starting early the next morning: Florence!

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