Saturday, May 21, 2016

Italy Part 3: Assisi

Day three in Italia, we took a short drive into Assisi.  We parked on the outskirts a bit in a large lot and took a bus over to St. Francis' Basilica first.  This basilica is actually two churches in one.  The downstairs is the biggest one with several side chapels and amazing ceilings.  The upstairs chapel is the one with the Giotto frescoes that tell the story of St. Francis.  I spent some extra time looking at the frescoes while everyone else made their way outside to feed the kids packed lunches.  I also went to the gift shop and ought a book on Giotto and all his works in Italy.  Can't wait to read that with the kids!  I also got a San Damiano crucifix for Isaac's First Communion, and some unique medals and tao crosses for each of the other five children.

There was a medieval festival going on when we were there.  Old Town verses New Town, or something like that.  They hang flags and wear scarfs the color of the town they support.


Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi

Lower Church

Lower Church

Heading up to Upper Church

View Outside the Upper Church


View Outside Upper Church

Entrance to Upper Church
While walking through the streets of Assis, we found this picturesque corner that Bran photographed, when I took Bobby and plopped him in the middle of it for another picture.  He rarely is in any of these traveling photos unless it's in the Ergo, but I had been giving him a brief break from it and it seemed the perfect beautiful corner for my beautiful littlest guy.


He, on the other hand, didn't love the idea.

We made our way to the Taverna dei Consoli for lunch.  I had chosen this restaurant in advance for it's Trip Advisor reviews and because truffles were a specialty here.  None of us were disappointed.  The gnocchi with truffle sauce was a favorite for all.  It had been a hot walk over from the basilica and the big glass of spritz (Filled with ice!  Ice is hard to come by in Germany.) was just what I needed to begin my meal and cool off.  They were very family friendly and had plenty of room for us which is a rare occasion in Europe.  When our two families eat together we often need "a restaurant all our own."  We had plenty of space. There was no changing table for the baby in the restaurant, a common problem in Europe, but otherwise we had nary the complaint.


Truffle pastas for lunch with a spritz
Off on a very short walk to St. Clare's basilica, we enjoyed the cooler temps from the downpour while we were eating lunch.  It was just drizzling when we left the restaurant which was no problem.  St. Claire's basilica has St. Francis' famous crucifix and St Claire's relics (even her hair!) and body there.

Basilica of Santa Chiara

The pink striped facade is similar to Orvieto's basilica.


A side chapel wherein hangs the San Damiano crucifix.

This crucifix is the crucifix that spoke to St. Francis and told him to rebuild his church.

Kneeling in front of the crucifix


Relics of St. Claire, St. Francis, and St Rufino

More relics


St Claire's body and tomb



After St. Claire's basilica, we stopped for some gelato to reward the children.  Bobby was starting to recognize what gelato is and reaching for it when I have some.


So then we are trying to cath the bus back to the part of town where our vans were parked in order to make it to the Saturday vigil Mass at Santa Maria degli Angeli.  However, we ran into someone we knew from our parish back in Maryland.  Such a random chance meeting was welcomed, but we realized too late that it would made us miss our bus, and, consequently, most of Mass as well.

Santa Maria degli Angeli




Santa Maria degli Angeli has the cell St Francis died in and his first chapel.  It is a beautiful church, but we couldn't help bu t notice how mauch blank space is on the walls still.  It is such a glaring contrast to most of these old churches in which every square inch is covered in frescoes, stained glass windows, statues, and paintings from the floor up.

Here's the original chapel just plopped right in the center of the church.

Inside of that little chapel






This pew was definitely all our own.




We went to have dinner at Umami to have beers and burgers.  They have very creative burgers here.  Mine was ever so slightly less well done than I prefer, but not so much that I couldn't handle it.  We had to sit outside because they had reservations filling the inside, but they were quick to accommodate us, and the service was very good.  The older children really enjoyed their unusual hamburgers as well.  We had planned to head back over to Santa Maria degli Angeli for a rosary, but dinner took too long and we missed it.  It was a late night and everyone was exhausted.  We went home and carried little kids in to bed.  We didn't even change the youngest two's clothes.

Seated on the deck and very glad it wasn't raining anymore.  It did get a little chilly for some who had insisted on not bringing a sweater.

Santa Maria degli Angeli at night when walking back to the vans.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Italy Part 2: Day of Rest and Genevieve's Birthday










Genevieve had her first soda (Fanta) brought to her in bed.  That's her ten year old privilege that she has been looking forward to for 17.5 months since her sister turned ten.

The second day of our trip was Genevieve's birthday.  What a way to spend your tenth birthday, in Italy!  She's my second daughter to hit the double digits.  What a sweet, sweet angel she is!  Genna is a great mother's helper, a terrific daughter, and an outstanding sister to all.  We love her so much and can't imagine life without her!

We decided to enjoy the resort and have a day off from visiting churches.  We played games, the kids and dads went on a hike while the mom stayed back with the napping babies, the kids tried to swim in the super cold pool, and we grilled and cooked a pretty big dinner.  

The pictures are a bit out of order.

Genna's birthday dessert


Grilled picnic dinner





Pool was freezing, so the dad's threw some of the kids in to toughen them up.  Let's just say it made some of the kids cry.


The dads and older kids hiked up to a waterfall.










There were lots of little anoles around and the dads caught one to tease the kids with.  Hannah really hates reptiles and amphibians.  Brian chased her around with it.  It was quite traumatic for Hannah.






Bobby enjoyed the grass as long as I didn't walk off for my turn at the game.  He's still a clingy guy right now.  He did wonderfully in the car on the long drive and is an all around super traveler.  I'm relishing this phase when there are no temper tantrums.  His 4th tooth came through while in Italy as well.





Before we left for this trip, we gave Genevieve her presents.  Hannah made her a Manga drawing book and a sweet card.  Drew gave her a bookmark he made at story time a few weeks before.  We gave her some DVDs, a new blanket, and a rug for her room.  The DVDs were a couple of TV series from when I was a kid, Punky Brewster and Small Wonder.  Isaac made her a card too.








Thank you, God, for our wonderful girl!  Oh, and I still owe here a slumber party which is another ten year old privilege.