Nine years ago today, my glorious time in Italy was coming to a close. June 6 was my last full day in Assisi, one of my own ancestral hometowns. I spent most of it wandering the magnificently historic streets, and visiting churches and shops and ruins. This hill town is ridiculously scenic; going through my photos now, I’m struck by just how difficult it is to take a photo of Assisi that is not quaint, charming, fascinating, or beautiful. Or all of the above.
One thing that struck me in Assisi was the prevalence of birds, especially pigeons. An old story says that Saint Francis of Assisi preached to the birds. And because he loved them, Assisi still does today. Flowers are also common, profusions of geraniums, roses, and petunias nodding from window boxes and planters, and lining the edge of verandas. The town also has its share of tacky tourist shops with bobble-head monks, but they’re easy enough to ignore — after you step into just one to look around, because, after all, where else are you going to see shops filled with Saint Francis-themed kitsch?
While tourism is huge here, most tourists seems to visit on day trips. It’s busy in the middle of the day, but before 10 am and after 4 pm, the town cleared out of most of its visitors. And I could gaze in peace at the Medieval stone buildings glowing gold and pink when the sun was low in the sky.