Umbria is a province of Italy right beside Lazio, the province that I am living in. Umbria is said to rival Tuscany (one of the most famous provinces in Italy) with its beautiful landscapes, hilltop towns, and quaint villages. I think I would agree with this rivalry. I’ve been fortunate to travel to quite a few Umbrian towns and am constantly blown away with the winding streets and picturesque views.
When my friend Sandra (from Canada!!) came to visit me in Rome, we decided to take a trip a couple hours north into Umbria to visit my friend Candice in her town of Foligno. It’s really cool that Candice and I have gotten to know each other since we aren’t even living in the same city. Way back at the beginning of my time in Rome she sent out a message on facebook asking if anybody would like to meet up when she would come to Rome. I said I’d meet her and since then we’ve been great friends. She often comes down to Rome to visit me and our friends, we’ve done some trips together as well but I hadn’t, until that weekend, been up to see where she lives.
So after a two hour train-ride, we arrived in Foligno and Candice was there to greet us. Foligno is a tiny town and touring it took all of 30 minutes. That being said it was nice to see where Candice lives and also to see how different the town is than Rome. There really isn’t a comparison at all. I think that life in Foligno would be completely different to the life I’ve been privy to here. Little traffic, small shops, no buses, nobody who speaks english…so very different!
Since we had seen all there was of Foligno, the three of us went on to Assisi. Assisi is famous because of St. Francis who was from the 12th century AD. He was selfless and kind to everybody around him. He lived a humble life and he is infamous among the catholic people for being such a loving man. In fact, the current pope ‘Papa Francesco I’ took his name from St. Francis of Assisi and from what I have heard about Papa Francesco this name suits him very well.
Assisi is one of my favourite cities I’ve visited in Italy. I love the winding streets. I love the cobble stone. I love the buildings. The views are amazing. In small cities like this one all you can do is wander and get lost. There isn’t much to do there which is what I find so lovely. The pace is so different then Rome and sometimes I wish I could spend a week away from Rome just to relax in the tranquility of a town like Assisi.
The basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi was also amazing to me. Since I’ve been in Europe I have seen countless churches. They are all spectacular and unbelievable but this basilica, for me, topped them all. I wasn’t able to take pictures inside for some annoying and unknown reason but even if I had, I don’t believe the pictures would have done the church justice. Unlike many cathedrals and basilicas in which the ceilings are extremely high and vaulted, this church had lower ceilings that were rounded. The were painted ornately, like all the other churches, but the curvature of the ceilings gave me the idea that we were underground in some sort of cave. I think what I enjoyed most about the church is that it was different then anything I’d seen before. This church was what really maximized my experience in Assisi.
Spending time with friends while travelling is the best thing I can do while living abroad. It is something that I will miss most about returning home to Canada; the ease of train travel with the whole of Italy and Europe at my fingertips. Thank goodness I am doing one more day-trip tomorrow before I leave this country in four short weeks!