Monday 24th October
Other than the early start the sosta at Gubbia was pretty good. Free water and waste disposal and electric if you need it. We noticed quite a few motorhomes coming in, using the services and then going home (we imagine).
Anyone checking our journey on the map may have noticed that we have changed our plans again. Last blog I mentioned that the trade route between Fano and Rome was pretty easy and we were tempted to head for Rome (as all roads do). We are still planning Xmas, we have no idea where we will be but have narrowed it down to 12 different places. Next stop, Assisi, home of St Frances and the Franciscan Monks. Camper Contact indicates that there are three sostas in Assisi, €10 per night, €17 per night and €20 per night so you know exactly where we were headed (it’s the only way I can afford to look at the beer). €10 per night sosta was built into the side of a mountain, they hadn’t even bothered to level any of the pitches off and the road in was going to be a one way only for Frankie, he would not have made it out so we had to go and mix it with the coaches. Do you know how many car parking bays a coach can take up? I didn’t feel so bad taking up two spaces.
Good start, nice big gates to welcome us in and only a couple of people getting in the way of my photos.
This is the Basilica di San Chiara, one of at least nine churches in Assisi. Three Basilicas and a Cathedral make up the rest of the religious edifices.
And then we caught up with the pilgrims. Luckily we had arrived at lunchtime so for most of the time we were pretty much by ourselves. The guides say that for ten months of the year it is standing room only here.
Religious tourist shops to the left and right but far, far less tacky than Compostela or Fatima. Assisi is long and thin and we have four gates like this to walk through on our journey.
Random doorway as we are walking along. Normally Italian buildings look like they are only held together with a thin veneer of flaky paint, other times they astound you with their simple beauty.
This is where my religious advisor has decided we will spend the day, the Basilica of St Frances (Frankie to his mates).
Security is a bit tight, we don’t want any riff raft getting in.
You had a nice rose window two pictures back and you’re getting another (Lucy likes them very much). Bit of a disappointment at the door, it’s a no photo, buy our postcards blessed by the Holy Spirit type of place and I forgot to take my phone in.
Only one thing for it, put the shutter on silent mode (not silent enough says Lucy), boost the ISO setting up to 4000 and take casual sneaky photos from waist height.
My religious advisor tells me that this is how all churches were decorated before the reformation.
And there was lots to look at. The Basilica is on two levels, this is the lower level, I tried eavesdropping on a tour guide but she wasn’t going to let me have any free information.
Snap, snap, look out for the guards,… excuse me Mister, that women is taking a photo, take her away and let me get on with being a good boy.
And don’t forget to be respectful of the worshippers whilst you’re not taking any photos. I think that girl at the front is either texting her boyfriend or checking out the quality of the photos she’s just taken.
I think this might be the third photo of this bit you’ve seen, the guards were up the other end and it was easier to be sneaky here.
The floor was nice. Similar to this all over and worn smooth by the millions of visitors.
Upstairs now but no less ornate.
In the upper part of the Basilica were lots of stalls like these. Each had a different design at the back, some were obviously paintings of the original occupants.
This was a particularly tricky shot. Nuns to the left of me, Monks to the right and a horde of Japanese just about to invade from behind. This is the tomb of St Frances himself.
It looked to us as if Assisi was home to lots of people. There were a lot of cars braving the seemingly impossible slopes and pedestrians.
Another view of that church I showed you earlier but on our way back to the car park.
Close up it had it’s own rose window (I think they are called rose windows) and inside we saw the tomb of St Clare (leader of the girls gang of Franciscan Nuns) but the guards were ten deep here and Mr Sneaky Photo man chickened out.
After Assisi we made our way to Spello which looked really nice laid out on the hillside. It looked like there were some Roman buildings but the sosta was a no no and we moved on.
And look where we ended up. Montefalco, the balcony of Umbria according to the guidebooks.
Looking the other way towards the town which we will be visiting in the morning. For the first time since entering Italy we have seen a German motorhome so started having chat with them. They are on the way home now but have given me a big file of sostas worth visiting. They have told us that the best olive oil in the world comes from this area and our guidebook tells us that the wine here is something else. It’s only €5 per night here with services and ehu if you need it. Haven’t noticed any bells yet. The only fly in the ointment is that slope we have to try and coax Frankie up, it looks steep and at the top is a t-junction and if we stop he isn’t going to like it!!
Our early morning view through one of Frankies’ windows, this is what we expected to see, olive trees in the foreground and vines in the distance. Why move on?