Via Fontebella, 41, Assisi, Umbria, 06082, Italy
More about Assisi
Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi
View of Assisi from the monastery
Display figures to be used for Calendimaggio
View from the top
Getting to St. Mary of the Angels
I want to take my group of 24 people to St. Marys of the Angels. We are staying in the old part of Assisi, specifically Hotel LaRocca (anyone heard of it?). Does anyone know how we can get there without renting a bus?
Re: Getting to St. Mary of the Angels
I stayed at Hotel La Rocca long ago, and it was a nice enough place, suited for groups. It's on the north end of the upper town, overlooking a deep valley - I've got a photo of it around here someplace (as I slowly convert film to digital).
La Rocca is about a kilometer from the main Basilica, a nice enough walk. Note that if you go in the opposite direction, you'll come across a neighborhood whose streets are in an oval shape - that's the footprint of a Roman amphitheater that no longer exists - but the outlines of the shape still do.
OK, Saint Mary of the Angels is way the heck out of town - 5 kms? 9 kms? I forget. Certainly, the simplest method to get there would be by a bus you hire - there is a piazza not far from La Rocca that is accessible to buses, so you wouldn't have far to walk (note that much of upper Assisi is not accessible to buses or even cars belonging to non-residents). I am sure that you can take city buses, but I don't have a clue which ones.
Hmmmn, any of your 24 members of Rotary International? If so, then see http://www.rotaryumbria.org/assisi/ and send an email to your fellow Rotarians in Assisi and ask them(!).
I have looked at some Assisi sites, including the one for the local bus company (all in Italian), but I haven't gotten it to compute the trip yet. I imagine that you will need to get your group to the Piazza Matteotti bus station in Assisi, then take a bus from there to Santa Maria Degli Angeli. You might look at http://www.assisionline.com/buspgus.html (in English) to see if I missed something...
RE: Getting to St. Mary of the Angels
The public bus route C will take you from the main square in the old town to the Railway Station. From there, Santa Maria degli Angeli is a short walk. An extra 24 people on the bus might get a bit crowded, but you could try early in the morning. The basilica opens about 7 am.
Travel Tips for Assisi
Piazza Santa Chiara
Piazza Santa Chiara is the biggest square of the town, situated at the other pole of the historic centre right opposite to the Basilica of San Francesco. Many tourists and pilgrims use it as the resting place, especially in the hot summer days, because not many spots in the city can offer such a shade. There is a beautiful fountain in the middle of the square and many tourists use it's water for refreshing.
Basilica di San Francesco (Church of St. Francis)
You can't miss the Basilica as you approach the town of Assisi. The piazza outside the church is filled with modern political art depicting current issues.
Within the Cathedral are two main chapels, a reliquary and tomb. The Upper Chapel contains beautiful 13th century stained glass and numerous frescos. Unfortunately, many of the frescos (designed by Cimabue and Giotto) were severely damaged in the earthquake of 1997. The lower section of the wall depicts the life of St. Francis while the upper section has scenes from the Bible. Within the domes you can see the doctors of the church and the four evangelists. The back of the Cathedral holds scenes of trauma (Christ's death and the Apocalypse) created by Giotto.
The Lower Chapel leads to the tombs of St. Francis and his followers. The tomb was built by Francis' disciples immediately after his death. The frescos in the lower chapel are gorgeous, but the lack of light makes the colors and details a bit more difficult to view. You can also enter the reliquary where objects and clothing believed to have belonged to St. Francis.
The entire Basilica is something to experience, whether or not you are a religious individual. The artistry of the building makes it worth a visit.
Construction work on the church and adjacent convent of St Claire began in 1257, three years after the saint's death and a year after she was canonised.
Until then the sisters of St Claire had lodged at San Damiano. The church dedicated to St Claire occupied the site of the church of San Giorgio, where St Francis had been buried before his remains were moved to the basilica in 1230.
The exterior of the building makes use of alternate strips of pink and white stone, with massive supporting arches either side.
The interior has the same layout as the Upper Basilica of St Francis, with a single nave that terminates in a transept and polygonal apse. Like St Francis', a gallery runs the entire perimeter of the church, although here it is on the same level as the capitols. On the right hand side of the nave the Cappella del Crocifisso and the Cappella del Sacramento were once part of the nave of the previously existing church of San Giorgio, where Pope Gregory IX canonised St Francis in 1228.
The crypt was built between 1850 and 1872. Restored in neo-gothic style in 1935, it houses the body of St Claire, disovered in 1850.
Walk With a Saint
"Paragaon of humility"
Assisi's main, if not only, claim to fame is that it is St. Francis' hometown. Probably one of the most popular saints in the history of the Church, Francis left his life of relative comfort here and began to wander the streets as a poor man preaching love and the humble life. Just walking the streets of this little city is amazing because you know this holy man was here. G. K. Chesterton described a seminal event in Francis' life when a beggar had sought alms from him while Francis was bargaining with a local merchant. When finished with the merchant, Chesterton says "Francis leapt from his booth ... running, he threaded the labyrinth of the narrow and crooked streets of the little town, looking for the beggar ... and loaded that astonished mendicant with money." Walking these streets puts you on the same stage where Francis lived.
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We've found that other people looking for this hotel also know it by these names:
- Hotel Giotto
Address: Via Fontebella, 41, Assisi, Umbria, 06082, Italy